Defense Lawyers – Criminal Justice Online http://criminaljustice-online.com/ Mon, 18 Oct 2021 23:20:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://criminaljustice-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon.png Defense Lawyers – Criminal Justice Online http://criminaljustice-online.com/ 32 32 Former Associate of Representative Pete Sessions Testifies at Giuliani Partner’s Trial https://criminaljustice-online.com/former-associate-of-representative-pete-sessions-testifies-at-giuliani-partners-trial/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/former-associate-of-representative-pete-sessions-testifies-at-giuliani-partners-trial/#respond Mon, 18 Oct 2021 23:20:45 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/former-associate-of-representative-pete-sessions-testifies-at-giuliani-partners-trial/ The original indictment in the case suggested that Parnas’s offers to donate and fundraise for the sessions were linked to an effort to oust then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich. Parnas and Fruman worked closely with Giuliani in this campaign, which ultimately led to Trump’s first impeachment. However, Giuliani has not been charged in the […]]]>

The original indictment in the case suggested that Parnas’s offers to donate and fundraise for the sessions were linked to an effort to oust then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich. Parnas and Fruman worked closely with Giuliani in this campaign, which ultimately led to Trump’s first impeachment. However, Giuliani has not been charged in the case, and the Justice Department quietly removed the allegation from an updated version of the indictment last year.

Boothe was not asked about this aspect of Parnas’ relationship with the sessions, but said when the men offered to help the congressman’s campaign financially, she suggested they discuss it outside. of the building.

“I said, ‘I’d like to talk more about it. Let’s do it across the street, ”Boothe said, taking the group to the Capitol Hill Club. “You cannot run any unofficial campaign or business on government property,” she told the jury.

Boothe said the men were excited to help Sessions. “They were really happy to help. Lev said he would maximize, but also help pool contributions, ”she recalls. “He mentioned the pooling of about $ 20,000.”

However, a request from Parnas’ assistant days later to donate $ 20,000 to a single credit card raised some questions, Boothe said. She consulted with longtime Sessions chief of staff who had just resigned, Matt Garcia, who told her it was allowed but that it would be “nicer” for the money to be debited to separate cards. Boothe testified that she ultimately referred the issue to Sessions fundraising.

In the end, only $ 5,400 came in and fundraisers were asked to award half to Parnas and the other half to Fruman. Sessions donated the money to charity after the men were arrested in 2019.

Boothe also added colorful testimony at the trial, acknowledging that Parnas looked a bit out of place on Capitol Hill and in fundraising photos due to his penchant for gold chains. Examining the photos presented as evidence at trial, she confirmed that Parnas was seated in the chair of the President of Sessions during a tour of the House Appropriations Committee room and that in the photos taken at the Trump Hotel International, Parnas wore the Congress of Sessions baseball jersey.

“Congressman Sessions is a very nice man and likes to do friendly things,” she told Parnas defense attorney Joseph Bondy. “I don’t know exactly why.

Parnas’ attorneys and an associate on trial with him, Andrey Kukushkin, told jurors the campaign finance law was complex and nuanced. Defense lawyers seek to cast doubt on whether the government has proven the couple knew they were breaking the law by donating money on loan from a Russian businessman.

When questioned by the prosecution, Boothe said categorically that any money coming from a foreign national or donated on behalf of another person would have been rejected, had she known. “It’s illegal,” she said for about 90 minutes on the witness stand, interrupted by a one hour lunch break.

But during cross-examination by Bondy, Boothe admitted that some of the campaign finance rules have exceptions, such as the one that allows strangers with green cards to donate money. She said she “had no reason to” think Garcia wanted to break the law, but wanted to be extra careful.

“At the end of the day, I saw what is black and white and we are going to go that route. I don’t want gray, Boothe said. “I was a chef for 72 hours at the time, so I wanted to make sure I was crossing all my t’s and pointing all my i’s.”

“Great minds may differ,” Bondy added later.

Boothe may also have inadvertently underscored the defense’s perspective on the complexity of the law by claiming at the start of his testimony that people under the age of 18 cannot donate. Such a ban was included in the McCain-Feingold Act passed in 2002, but the Supreme Court struck down the provision the following year.

The Sessions ended up losing the 2018 race to Democrat Colin Allred, but regained another House seat in 2020 after moving his residence from Dallas to Waco.

Prosecutors appear ready to close their case on Tuesday after announcing that they had abandoned plans to call Joseph Ahearn, CFO of pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. Bondy said he may seek to call Ahearn as a witness, possibly later on Tuesday. United States District Court Judge Paul Oetken said he would approve a defense subpoena for Ahearn when the court receives it.

It is still unclear whether Parnas will take a stand in his own defense. Prosecutors and the defense are expected to argue Tuesday morning over the scope of Parnas’ potential cross-examination, if he chooses to testify.


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Alex Murdaugh’s defense argues with suspected hitman over medical records in botched suicide plot https://criminaljustice-online.com/alex-murdaughs-defense-argues-with-suspected-hitman-over-medical-records-in-botched-suicide-plot/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/alex-murdaughs-defense-argues-with-suspected-hitman-over-medical-records-in-botched-suicide-plot/#respond Sun, 17 Oct 2021 16:51:42 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/alex-murdaughs-defense-argues-with-suspected-hitman-over-medical-records-in-botched-suicide-plot/ Alex Murdaugh’s medical records of an alleged botched suicide shooting have been released, as his defense attorneys continue to fight a suspected hitman, Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith, who has appeared in the national newspapers last week claiming the disgraced South Carolina legal scion had never been shot. Much speculation surrounded the alleged Labor Day weekend […]]]>

Alex Murdaugh’s medical records of an alleged botched suicide shooting have been released, as his defense attorneys continue to fight a suspected hitman, Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith, who has appeared in the national newspapers last week claiming the disgraced South Carolina legal scion had never been shot.

Much speculation surrounded the alleged Labor Day weekend roadside shooting after Murdaugh showed up in a Hampton County courtroom 12 days later without bandages or visible injuries. The records come to light as Murdaugh was also arrested and charged on Thursday as part of an insurance settlement obtained following the death of the family’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

Accused of two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses, Murdaugh was arrested in Orlando, Florida, upon his release from a drug rehab center. He was extradited to Richland County, South Carolina, where he was held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on Saturday.

ALEX MURDAUGH ARRESTED FOR GLORIA SATTERFIELD INSURANCE SETTLEMENT

On Friday, two Democratic heavyweight lawyers representing Murdaugh, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, provided several news outlets with four pages of medical notes from Memorial Health in Savannah, Ga., Documenting Murdaugh’s injuries on September 4. Murdaugh initially called 911 on September 4. telling dispatchers that he was on his way to the beach but had a flat tire and was changing the flat tire when someone shot him from a moving truck. He was airlifted to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia, and then entered rehab to treat an opioid addiction, his lawyers said.

He then changed his story. Murdaugh then contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to confess that he allegedly hired his former legal client and suspected drug dealer, Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith to shoot him so that his only surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could raise $ 10 million. life insurance. The suicide plan was botched, Murdaugh claims, and Smith only grazed his head.

“[Alex Murdaugh] made it clear that he would try to right all wrongs – financial wrongs – and others that he may have done. Look, he’s come to terms with the fact that he’s going to jail. He understands that. He’s a lawyer, “Harpootlian said on Friday. ABC’s “Good Morning America”. “Eddie Smith isn’t telling the truth, and he obviously has reasons not to tell the truth.”

Harpootlian reiterated that hospital medical records show Murdaugh had two gunshot wounds to his head, his skull was fractured, he had a brain hemorrhage and he was hospitalized in the intensive care unit. Harpootlian also doubled down on his claim that Smith was indeed Murdaugh’s drug dealer.

Records also showed Murdaugh was high in barbiturates when he arrived at the hospital, which is a group of drugs called sedative-hypnotics.

Smith, alongside his attorney, Jonny McCoy, appeared on NBC’s “TODAY” Thursday. He claimed he had no prior knowledge of an insurance plan before bringing his truck to meet Murdaugh on September 4. By the side of the road, Smith claimed Murdaugh asked him to shoot him, but Smith refused. When Murdaugh motioned to shoot himself instead, Smith wrestled him for the gun, which exploded.

Smith told “TODAY” that he was “1,000” percent sure Murdaugh had never been shot. In a promotional clip of an interview with CBS’s “48 Hours,” which is slated to air in full in a few weeks, Smith again denied that Murdaugh was shot and said he was not the drug dealer. the disgraced lawyer.

“He wanted me to kill him,” Smith said during part of the interview that aired Sunday on “CBS Mornings”. “If I hadn’t taken [taken] the gun, I don’t know what he would have done. “

“Of course Curtis is like anyone else, ‘Are you crazy? What are you doing?” McCoy added. “No crime has been committed.”

If he’s guilty of anything, Smith said he “trusts too much”.

FOX Carolina reported that ambulance records show Murdaugh was shot to the head and hospital records show there was blood under Murdaugh’s skin and he had a fracture of the link. The notes indicated that Murdaugh had a laceration on the left side of his scalp. Barbiturates and opiates have been found in his body. A medical examiner told FOX that Carolina Murdaugh’s brain was bleeding.

The Greenville News also reported that medical notes showed Murdaugh had been treated for a scalp laceration, a small subdural hemorrhage and a skull fracture corresponding to two superficial gunshot wounds to the head. Fox News Digital contacted a copy of the records on Sunday.

ALEX MURDAUGH RESERVED IN SOUTH CAROLINA AFTER ARREST IN FLORIDA: REPORT

“The audience is going to have to decide at this point which of the two scenarios is more likely. The scenario put forward by Mr. Murdaugh is that he called my client in a suicidal state and asked our client to shoot him for no apparent reason. , then our client just complied, “another Smith lawyer, Jarrett Bouchette, told Greenville News on Friday. “Or the other scenario that we think is more likely where in this situation he would ask our client to shoot him, our client refused and snatched the gun from him and at some point the gun went off. exploded. I think the latter is infinitely more likely. “

Before Murdaugh was arrested again last week, he had entered the second phase of his recovery after completing an initial medical rehab at an Atlanta facility.

Murdaugh has previously been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report in an alleged September 4 shooting. His last court appearance was on September 16, when Hampton County Examining Magistrate Tonja Alexander set Murdaugh’s bail at $ 20,000, and he was released on bail, allowed to return to an out-of-state rehabilitation center without GPS monitoring.

Smith’s bail was set at $ 55,000 and he was also released later.

According to two warrants issued by SLED on Saturday, Gloria Satterfield, the 57-year-old nanny and housekeeper of the Murdaugh family, “fell and hit her head” at Murdaugh’s home on Moselle Road in Islandtown on February 2, 2018 She later had a stroke, went into cardiac arrest and died on February 26, 2018. Murdaugh coordinated with Satterfield’s family “to sue himself to seek an insurance settlement with the ‘stated intention to donate the proceeds to the Satterfield family to pay for funeral expenses and monetary compensation for the children of Satterfield,’ the affidavits state.

Murdaugh recommended that the Satterfield family hire Corey Fleming, of the Moss, Kuhn and Fleming law firm in Beaufort, SC, to represent them. Fleming negotiated an initial insurance settlement in the amount of $ 505,000. The Satterfield family were never told of the settlement, according to the warrants.

On January 7, 2019, Fleming issued a check from an account belonging to his law firm in the amount of $ 403,500 to “Forge”. Murdaugh “created and owned a bank account titled” Forge “and ordered Fleming to write him the check to deprive the Satterfield family of the insurance claims owed to them by converting the $ 403,500 for Mr. . Murdaugh, “an affidavit reads.

Forge Consulting, LLC, is a legitimate company that handles insurance settlements, but is not affiliated with Satterfield’s Settlement or the Murdaugh-owned account, according to the affidavits. Murdaugh titled the “Forge” account as a “misrepresentation in order to facilitate and cover up the embezzlement in question.”

Fleming negotiated additional insurance settlements in the amount of approximately $ 4,305,000. A settlement agreement stipulated that $ 2,765,000 was allocated to the Satterfield family. But again, the Satterfield family were never made aware of the settlements or received the proceeds from them, the affidavit states. The settlement agreement was not properly filed in the court record.

On May 13, 2019, Fleming again wrote a check in the amount of $ 2,961,911.95 to “Forge”.

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Fleming, who was also Murdaugh’s former roommate at college and his son’s godfather, Paul Murdaugh, had his lawyer’s license suspended for his handling of the case. Murdaugh is believed to be a person of interest in the June 7 murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, after the two were found shot dead on the family’s hunting estate in Colleton County. No arrests have been made in connection with the unsolved double murders.



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Students speak out against Yale-affiliated lawyers for role in Sandy Hook trial https://criminaljustice-online.com/students-speak-out-against-yale-affiliated-lawyers-for-role-in-sandy-hook-trial/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/students-speak-out-against-yale-affiliated-lawyers-for-role-in-sandy-hook-trial/#respond Fri, 15 Oct 2021 04:23:24 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/students-speak-out-against-yale-affiliated-lawyers-for-role-in-sandy-hook-trial/ Zoe Berg, Photo Editor Yale students have called on the University to sever ties with Day Pitney LLP, a law firm that represents both Yale and Remington, a gun manufacturer sued by parents of students killed in the Sandy Hook shooting and a drew criticism for practices including the academic subpoena of the first-graders who […]]]>

Zoe Berg, Photo Editor

Yale students have called on the University to sever ties with Day Pitney LLP, a law firm that represents both Yale and Remington, a gun manufacturer sued by parents of students killed in the Sandy Hook shooting and a drew criticism for practices including the academic subpoena of the first-graders who were killed.

Day Pitney, a national law firm with an office in New Haven, has served as the University’s external legal counsel on a number of matters, from libel lawsuits to real estate litigation. However, while benefiting from its association with the University, the firm represented Remington in a way that drew criticism from the judge in the Sandy Hook case and the Washington Post Editorial Board. Day Pitney’s practices include sending over 30,000 allegedly irrelevant documents, memes and cartoons in connection with the discovery and subpoena of the murdered children’s attendance and school records, as well as records jobs for teachers killed in the shooting.

“You don’t really have to have been involved in gun violence prevention, advocacy, or even politics to find what Day Pitney is doing here that is so disturbing,” said Matt Post ’22, co-author of the open letter. “The reason I felt so compelled to get involved is the idea that my tuition is being used indirectly for bullying. [and] the harassment of the families of these victims… disgusted me.

According to vice president of communications Nathaniel Nickerson, Day Pitney has represented the University on matters relating to real estate, zoning work and bond offerings. He added that Day Pitney has also served as a local defense attorney for Yale in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Students for Fair Admissions.

Nickerson said that “when Yale learned of this action on Sunday, [University General Counsel Alexander] Dreier expressed his point of view to Day Pitney’s management in the strongest terms. “

“Yale is waiting to hear what Day Pitney intends to do to remedy this situation as we consider Yale’s continued relationship with the company,” said Nickerson.

Elizabeth Sher, general counsel and partner of Day Pitney, told the News that the firm has a “long-standing relationship” with Yale and has the “privilege” of representing the University in a number of legal matters. “We have a lot of respect for the institution, its employees and its students,” Sher wrote in an email to News.

Sher declined to comment on Sandy Hook’s lawsuit because litigation is ongoing.

Post pointed out that Day Pitney was not sticking to “the values ​​that Yale claims to hold” and said the firm should therefore not be able to profit from its business with the University or “pay its lawyers with it. [students’] tuition dollars.

The Sandy Hook families sued Remington Arms in 2014, alleging that the gun maker was dangerously marketing a military-style weapon – the AR-15 – to the public, particularly targeting young men prone to violence in its marketing.

Adam Lanza, who was 20 at the time of the shooting, used an AR-15 when he killed his mother, 20 school children and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

“Personally, I find the decision to subpoena the cases of these young children to be completely irrelevant, and as a practicing lawyer, I would never take such a step and I would not allow any lawyer to do so. do as part of representing Yale, ”Dreier wrote in an email to News.

In a September 9 editorial, the Washington Post editorial board also wrote that the attorney’s decision to subpoena the documents is “beyond comprehension.”

In early September, Josh Koskoff, the victim’s family lawyer, filed a petition to protect the information revealed by Day Pitney’s subpoena for the Sandy Hook victims’ cases.

In Koskoff’s petition, he questioned the motives behind the demands of Remington’s attorneys – the Day Pitney employees. Koskoff declined to comment for this story.

“There is no conceivable way that these children’s application and admission documents, attendance records, transcripts, report cards, [and] disciplinary records, to name just some of the things sought by the subpoena, will help Remington in his defense, and plaintiffs fail to understand why Remington would invade families’ privacy with such a request, ”the petition states.

Post described Day Pitney’s rationale for requiring these “spine-chilling” recordings.

Thaddeus Talbot LAW ’22, the other co-author of the open letter, said the University’s decision to keep Day Pitney as legal counsel despite his well-documented ethical issues in this case contradicts ethical and professional rules and guidelines that he is learning at Yale Law School

“It’s very clear to me that Day Pitney is pushing the boundaries of ethical rules in order to intimidate these families,” said Talbot. “Yale shouldn’t be dealing with a law firm that is willing to stoop that low.”

In 2020, Remington filed for bankruptcy in a move that plaintiffs in the case say would prevent the company from paying damages and accepting responsibility for its actions. In July 2021, Remington also offered the plaintiffs a settlement of $ 33 million, or roughly $ 3.6 million per family, which the families of the victims have yet to reject or accept.

Talbot said that due to the fact that the settlement was not immediately accepted, Remington was trying to prolong the process long enough for the families to drop their case. He said Remington was also trying to use bullying tactics to get families to drop their cases, with those efforts being led by lawyers for Day Pitney.

Some, however, argue that there should be no restriction on who a lawyer represents. In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union sentenced Harvard students who have successfully protested that a faculty member lose his post in a residential house over his decision to join Harvey Weinstein’s legal defense team.

Yet 103 people signed the open letter. Post told The News about what he sees as the University’s obligations in this matter.

“So everyone absolutely deserves legal representation,” Post told The News. “But when that legal representation crosses the line of intimidating the families of murdered first graders… I think [that] is inadmissible.

He added that this is not a question of right or wrong, as these practices have been widely condemned. The essential question, in his view, is why the University, while fully aware of Day Pitney’s practices, chooses to maintain them as legal counsel.

“If the harassment of the families of the killed children and the Sandy Hook shooting fit with Day Pitney’s values, so be it,” Post said. “But as a student here at this university, I certainly don’t think that matches that at Yale. I think the people who profit by the name of Yale, who profit from doing business with Yale, who profit from our tuition fees should be held to a certain standard of respectable behavior.

Day Pitney’s New Haven office is located at 195 Church St.




PHILIP MOUSAVIZADEH




Philip Mousavizadeh covers Woodbridge Hall, the president’s office. He has covered the Jackson Institute before. He is in his second year at Trumbull College studying ethics, politics and economics.



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Jerry Summers: Jack Norman Sr. – Lawyer and Historian (1904-1995) https://criminaljustice-online.com/jerry-summers-jack-norman-sr-lawyer-and-historian-1904-1995/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/jerry-summers-jack-norman-sr-lawyer-and-historian-1904-1995/#respond Thu, 14 Oct 2021 02:58:40 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/jerry-summers-jack-norman-sr-lawyer-and-historian-1904-1995/ Only lawyers and older citizens can probably recognize the above name of Nashville attorney Jack Norman, Sr. He was appointed by Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement along with neophyte lawyer John J. Hooker, Jr. to pursue the impeachment of Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Raulston Schoolfield in the political trial that s ‘is held at […]]]>

Only lawyers and older citizens can probably recognize the above name of Nashville attorney Jack Norman, Sr.

He was appointed by Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement along with neophyte lawyer John J. Hooker, Jr. to pursue the impeachment of Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Raulston Schoolfield in the political trial that s ‘is held at the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville from May 6 to July. 13, 1958.

John Edward “Jack” Norman, Sr. was born in South Nashville in 1904 and attended public schools (Central High) and Vanderbilt Law School

Beginning in 1926, he began a career as one of the state and nation’s leading criminal defense attorneys, but also served as a special prosecutor in the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.

He has also successfully obtained substantial jury verdicts in civil cases and served as legal counsel for the Nashville Banner newspaper and has written extensively for this publication as well as for its competitor, the Nashville Tennessean.

His list of clients and his positive results make Jack Norman one of the legal giants in Tennessee legal history. Ironically, his refusal to represent Teamsters President James Hoffa in Nashville Federal Court would result in a bribery charge against another prominent Nashville lawyer, which would contribute to his suicide and end a successful legal career.

The fight between Norman and Schoolfield in the 1958 impeachment case has been described as reminiscent of a “battle between two gladiators in the Roman arena”.

Ironically, Norman would find himself in a fee dispute with the state of Tennessee for his seven months of preparation and trial in the case. This not only hurt and angered Norman, but led to the false rumor that he could run against Frank Clement for governor in 1962.

In a resolution passed by the Tennessee legislature in honor of Jack upon his death in 1995, he reportedly said, “When I’m your lawyer, I put myself in your shoes. I’ll shoot anyone who tries to run over you. and “There is only one side to a lawsuit – my side.”

In his later years, he and his beloved wife, Carrie, moved into an apartment overlooking historic Printers Alley. This residence also contributed significantly to Jack’s colorful historical memory and love for Nashville before and after the legalization of alcohol through drink.

A great traveler of the world and a true lover of the history of Nashville, in 1984 he wrote a remarkable paperback novel. “The Nashville I Knew” is literally filled with thousands of names of people, places and events about his beloved hometown which he described in a 242 page treatise that will answer most questions any reader. interested can land on “South Athens.”

Used copies of this remarkable history lesson are still available from the usual sources on the website.

Jack Norman was once recognized as one of the five greatest orators in the legal history of the state of Tennessee.

In a bygone era when he was an old-school stage actor using fiery but eloquent words and amazing powers of persuasion, he was at the top of Davidson County’s bar list.

Jurors were in awe and fascinated with him and often watched his antics rather than listen to his opponent’s plea.

Back in the days when smoking was permitted in courtrooms, its use of its trademark, the ubiquitous cigar, was often a distraction for the prosecution or civil defense lawyer.

Rumors that he would light a “stogie” and, as it burned slowly, the spent ashes would not fall to the ground. Usually, this happened while Jack’s opponent was defending his point of view, effectively preventing the jury from listening carefully to his plea. The fact that there may have been an open paper clip inserted into the middle of the cigar to prevent the ashes from falling has never been proven (or disproved).

His legal reputation was matched only by his involvement in charitable and philanthropic activities with Masonic circles and shrines.

In 1986, the Nashville Bar Association created the Jack Norman, Sr. Award to be presented to a defense lawyer, prosecutor or judge in the greater Nashville area “whose practice or principal service relates in criminal law, demonstrates respect for the rights of all individuals in the criminal justice system, demonstrates advocacy or judicial skills necessary for the prosecution of justice, demonstrates consistent respect for the law and the profession legal profession, maintains the highest standards of professional integrity and ethical conduct, and contributes to the improvement of the legal profession and the criminal justice system – including, but not limited to, the protection of non-legal representation. or underpaid of the accused.

Jack Norman passed away in 1995 after a long and interesting career as a lawyer, historian, world traveler, devoted husband and successful father of five.

* * *

Jerry summers

(If you have additional information on any of Mr. Summers’ articles or have any suggestions or ideas on a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)


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Pottstown killer claimed self-defense in statement after fatal shooting – The Mercury https://criminaljustice-online.com/pottstown-killer-claimed-self-defense-in-statement-after-fatal-shooting-the-mercury/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/pottstown-killer-claimed-self-defense-in-statement-after-fatal-shooting-the-mercury/#respond Tue, 12 Oct 2021 21:03:50 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/pottstown-killer-claimed-self-defense-in-statement-after-fatal-shooting-the-mercury/ NORRISTOWN – Pottstown man accused of using a shotgun to fatally shoot another man in the borough, who prosecutors say was unarmed, told a detective he “had to eliminate the aggressor ”during a disruption in the development of Bright Hope. “As a man, I had to eliminate the abuser. I shot him. I didn’t want […]]]>

NORRISTOWN – Pottstown man accused of using a shotgun to fatally shoot another man in the borough, who prosecutors say was unarmed, told a detective he “had to eliminate the aggressor ”during a disruption in the development of Bright Hope.

“As a man, I had to eliminate the abuser. I shot him. I didn’t want him to hurt another family like he did mine, ”Armani Cortez Rhedrick reportedly told a detective in an initial statement to authorities a day after the deadly September 23 shooting. 2019 on Otis Harris, 31. .

“Three quick hits. I only loaded three shells and fired three times, ”Rhedrick said, according to testimony at his homicide trial.

Rhedrick’s six-page statement from September 24, 2019 was read to a jury Tuesday by Montgomery County Detective John Wittenberger, who testified that Rhedrick was calm, attentive and did not show up under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he has voluntarily agreed to give the statement.

“The accused told me he wanted to tell me what really happened, that it was self-defense,” Wittenberger recalls.

In his statement, Rhedrick, who was 20 at the time of the shooting, claimed that Harris and another man whose name he did not know had come to his home in the 400 block of West King Street and began to l ‘assault. Rhedrick claimed Harris said “We’re about to leave you,” which Rhedrick claimed to have taken as a threat to kill him. Rhedrick claimed that when Harris hit him, he caught a glimpse of what he believed to be a gun the second man possessed.

Rhedrick claimed he went into a closet and retrieved a 12-gauge shotgun, loaded it and then fired, hitting Harris, as the second man fled.

In the statement, Rhedrick said Harris was unarmed but shot Harris because he feared Harris would allow the second man to harm him.

Rhedrick’s statement echoes what defense attorney Evan TL Hughes argued at trial that Rhedrick acted in self-defense when Harris invaded the house he shared with his girlfriend and baby and attacked him.

But Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman called the shooting a “cold blooded execution” and alleged that Rhedrick committed “premeditated, unjustifiable and intentional murder.” Cauffman and Co-Prosecutor Kelli McGinnis have suggested that Rhedrick’s statements are selfish and that the unarmed Harris never assaulted Rhedrick.

Rhedrick’s statement is also at odds with what prosecution witnesses said they observed.

Testimony revealed that the investigation began around 8:27 a.m. on September 23, when Pottstown Police responded to a report of a shooting in the Scott Street unit block. Arriving officers found Harris on the sidewalk outside a residence.

“Harris sustained an apparent gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene,” wrote Wittenberger and Pottstown Detective Corporal Michael Breslin in the arrest affidavit, adding that three shotgun shells caliber 12 had been recovered from the area of ​​Harris’s body.

An autopsy concluded that Harris had died of multiple gunshot wounds and that the mode of death was homicide.

Prosecution witnesses said the shooting took place minutes after a physical altercation between Rhedrick and Harris’ nephew Rayshawn McKay at the Rhedrick West King Street home. McKay said Monday that after the brawl he returned to Harris’ home on Scott Street, where he resided, and told Harris about the altercation.

Harris, according to prosecution witnesses, then came out and witnesses said they heard three gunshots within minutes. Prosecutors maintain Harris was unarmed. McKay testified that he was upstairs in Harris’ house when he heard the gunshots.

The Rhedrick West King Street Residence is just 50 yards from the site of the alleged shooting.

McKay has repeatedly denied Hughes’ suggestion that he and Harris invaded Rhedrick’s house while armed with firearms and McKay maintained that Harris was not present during the previous altercation that ‘he had had with Rhedrick.

Jurors appeared riveted on Tuesday as prosecutors played for the jury a recording of the 911 call McKay made shortly after the alleged shooting. Relatives of Harris could be heard screaming emotionally in the background during the call.

Witnesses reported observing Rhedrick carrying a rifle wrapped in a blanket, getting into a silver Hyundai sedan and leaving the scene of the alleged shooting. During the investigation, authorities seized a 12-gauge shotgun allegedly used by Rhedrick in the shooting.

County Detective Eric Nelson, a gun expert, showed the jury how the shotgun works. Nelson also compared the models of injuries found on Harris’ body to the models produced when he tested the weapon during the investigation.

“The shotgun was within 10 feet of the deceased when it was fired,” Nelson told jurors Tuesday.

Rhedrick, now 22, faces charges of first and third degree murder, possession of a firearm, possession of a criminal instrument and tampering or fabricating physical evidence.

If convicted of first degree murder, intentional murder, Rhedrick faces life imprisonment. A conviction for third degree murder, a murder committed with malicious intent, carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.

The trial before Judge William R. Carpenter is expected to last approximately four days.


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Assessors find King Soopers shot unfit suspect https://criminaljustice-online.com/assessors-find-king-soopers-shot-unfit-suspect/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/assessors-find-king-soopers-shot-unfit-suspect/#respond Mon, 11 Oct 2021 14:48:14 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/assessors-find-king-soopers-shot-unfit-suspect/ Medics have ruled the Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect unfit to stand trial, but prosecutors have requested and obtained a second assessment. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, is charged with 10 counts of first degree murder, 47 counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of first degree assault, 10 counts of possession of a […]]]>

Medics have ruled the Boulder King Soopers shooting suspect unfit to stand trial, but prosecutors have requested and obtained a second assessment.

Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, is charged with 10 counts of first degree murder, 47 counts of attempted first degree murder, one count of first degree assault, 10 counts of possession of a magazine banned large capacity and 47 crimes. enhancers for violence.

Alissa’s lawyers raised concerns about her competence ahead of a scheduled preliminary hearing, and Boulder Chief Justice Ingrid Bakke ordered Alissa to undergo an assessment to determine if he was able to help. in its own defense.

According to a petition filed last week, doctors concluded that Alissa’s “superficial responses” to hypothetical legal situations indicated a “passive approach to her defense” and “potential over-reliance on her lawyers.”

Doctors ultimately concluded that Alissa was not currently fit to stand trial.

But the Boulder District Attorney’s Office filed a motion asking for another assessment, noting that they felt Alissa’s responses indicated he was competent enough to continue the case.

“In this first skills assessment, (Alissa) indicates an understanding of her charges, potential sentence, roles of judge, prosecutor and defense counsel,” the motion reads.

While Alissa’s lawyers objected to a second assessment and argued that it was an attempt to speed up the case and “had not been done in good faith,” Bakke acceded on demand October 7.

According to an arrest affidavit, police were called to the King Soopers at 3600 Table Mesa at 2:40 p.m. on March 22 for a report of a gunman who shot a person in a vehicle in the store’s parking lot and was now located inside the store.

Eric Talley, a Boulder police officer, was the first to arrive at the scene and was shot dead. Alissa shot other officers who responded. One of the police officers who responded shot Alissa in the leg.

Alissa then went to the police. Police found an assault rifle, handgun and tactical bulletproof vest at the scene.

In addition to Talley, 20-year-old Denny Stong; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; 49-year-old Tralona Bartkowiak; Teri Leiker, 51 years old; Fontaine Suzanne, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65, were killed in the shooting.


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Lawyers demand destroyed evidence in nitrogen leak trial https://criminaljustice-online.com/lawyers-demand-destroyed-evidence-in-nitrogen-leak-trial/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/lawyers-demand-destroyed-evidence-in-nitrogen-leak-trial/#respond Sat, 09 Oct 2021 01:19:36 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/lawyers-demand-destroyed-evidence-in-nitrogen-leak-trial/ Lawyers involved in the wrongful death lawsuits resulting from the deadly January 28 liquid nitrogen leak are seeking sanctions against a chemical company for allegedly destroying evidence and providing false information, court documents show. The lawyers represent the estate administrators and the surviving families of the six people killed in the Foundation Food Group poultry […]]]>

Lawyers involved in the wrongful death lawsuits resulting from the deadly January 28 liquid nitrogen leak are seeking sanctions against a chemical company for allegedly destroying evidence and providing false information, court documents show.

The lawyers represent the estate administrators and the surviving families of the six people killed in the Foundation Food Group poultry factory leak. Lawsuits against Messer Gas, the company that installed the liquid nitrogen system at the plant, were filed in Gwinnett County State Court in February.

Weeks after the fatal leak, it was discovered that the “bubble tube,” a key component that senses the level of liquid nitrogen to prevent overflows, was “damaged and out of place,” according to reports. court documents.

While specification drawings show the bubbler tube should have two brackets, only one was installed in the Foundation Food Group’s freezer, according to court documents.

According to the penalty petition, the plaintiffs did not know until August 23 that Messer “found a second bubbler tube which was also damaged and partially moved to another customer in Stillmore, Ga.”

A Messer employee sent a photo of the damaged bubbler tube along with other texts to his supervisor, who in turn forwarded these messages to Messer’s defense attorney and security official in April, according to the sanctions motion.

The employee noted in his April text message to his supervisor that this other bent bubbler tube was “likely what happened to (Foundation Food Group),” according to court documents.

“Despite being aware of the other curved bubbler tube, in response to direct discovery requests regarding other curved bubbler tubes, Messer falsely denied knowledge of any other curved bubbler tube in his written discovery responses. “, according to the sanctions motion. “And despite producing approximately 27,000 pages of documents, Messer did not produce the photographs or the text messages on the other curved bubbler tube.”

The applicants also discovered that the second angled bubbler tube had since been destroyed.

The request for sanctions was filed on August 30 and a hearing was held on Thursday October 7.

“The court said Messer lied,” said lawyer Matt Cook, who is part of the team representing the plaintiffs.

In the sanction of the requests, the plaintiffs wish that the jury be informed of these details, in particular that “if the second bent bubbler tube were available for the tests, the results would have been favorable to the plaintiffs and unfavorable to Messer”. They also want to prevent Messer “from any allocation of fault to non-parties, and order that Messer not blame any other party or person for the claims” in these lawsuits.

The Times contacted Messer’s attorney Derek Whitefield for comment, but that message was not returned. Instead, Messer’s spokeswoman Amy Ficon sent a statement to The Times:

“Messer has cooperated and continues to cooperate transparently with all investigators, including OSHA (the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board) and local authorities. Messer is committed to the common goal of finding the causes of this incident and doing his part to prevent such an incident from happening again. “

Ficon did not immediately respond to follow-up questions regarding the more specific allegations in the sanctions motion.

Cook said a judge’s order on the petition would likely come in the coming weeks.


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Judge was wrong to dismiss bribery case in infamous corruption sting, prosecutors say https://criminaljustice-online.com/judge-was-wrong-to-dismiss-bribery-case-in-infamous-corruption-sting-prosecutors-say/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/judge-was-wrong-to-dismiss-bribery-case-in-infamous-corruption-sting-prosecutors-say/#respond Thu, 07 Oct 2021 12:51:49 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/judge-was-wrong-to-dismiss-bribery-case-in-infamous-corruption-sting-prosecutors-say/ A Superior Court judge was mistaken earlier this year when she dismissed a high-profile corruption case against a former Bayonne mayoral candidate in what had been one of the biggest corruption deals in the world ‘State for years, prosecutors said. In a case before the Appeal Division, the state attorney general’s office sought to overturn […]]]>

A Superior Court judge was mistaken earlier this year when she dismissed a high-profile corruption case against a former Bayonne mayoral candidate in what had been one of the biggest corruption deals in the world ‘State for years, prosecutors said.

In a case before the Appeal Division, the state attorney general’s office sought to overturn the decision of Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez, who dismissed a criminal indictment against Jason O’Donnell in June. He had been charged with allegations that he received a cash payment from a Morristown lawyer in exchange for promises of lucrative tax and real estate work if he won his election.

Galis-Menendez concluded that O’Donnell had committed no crime under the state’s corruption laws, believing he had no influence to offer as he was not a public official when he was trapped in the undercover operation.

“Where’s the crime? Where do we criminalize the activity that someone is planning to do? ” she asked. “Jason O’Donnell had nothing to offer.”

O’Donnell, a former member of the Democratic Assembly from Hudson, lost his run for mayor.

But in a 161-page brief filed with the Appeal Division on Wednesday evening, the attorney general’s office said state corruption laws were clear on the illegality of the payment allegedly accepted by O’Donnell.

“The question in this case is whether our corruption law nonetheless contains a loophole granting immunity to candidates for public office who accept cash bribes as consideration for taking future official action, only on the basis that they have not yet been elected, “the prosecutors wrote. “The answer, based on the text of the Corruption Act, irrefutable proof of legislative intent and precedent, is an emphatic ‘no’. “

The brief, written by Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Kmieciak, said the Legislature “never contemplated” that a candidate could accept bribes with impunity, and that the law it did drafted in fact prohibits such conduct.

She said the language of the law could hardly be clearer, covering any situation in which a person “accepts or accepts to accept a benefit in return for the performance of official duties”, without the requirement that it be. able to perform these functions.

The state’s legal arguments echoed the same points prosecutors had unsuccessfully made before Galis-Menendez.

In court, Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo said the intention of the Legislature could not be to allow candidates to peddle their influence with relative impunity.

“The law unambiguously criminalizes the conduct of the accused here,” Nicodemo argued, telling the judge that O’Donnell had taken the money and made it clear that he had the authority. “Case law says he accepted a bribe. It is a conditional promise.

But O’Donnell’s attorneys argued that the language of New Jersey’s bribery laws specifically defines bribery as taking money in exchange for performing official duties. O’Donnell had lost his candidacy for the election and was not in a position of authority when he was trapped in the investigation, they said. He had no official function.

“My client was not and is not an official or party official,” O’Donnell’s defense attorney Leo Hurley Jr. of Connell Foley in Jersey City said at the hearing. in front of Galis-Menendez.

A similar federal corruption case a decade earlier in the infamous Bid Rig affair saw charges against Lou Manzo, a former member of the Assembly while running for mayor in Jersey City.

In that case, Manzo was accused of accepting money in exchange for the promise of fast-track approvals for real estate projects. But then U.S. District Judge Jose Linares dismissed the charges, ruling Manzo was not a public official and was not in public office because he was just an unelected candidate. to an elective position. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld Linares.

The attorney general’s office, in its brief calling for the reinstatement of charges against O’Donnell, said the federal decision was not binding on the interpretation of state law.

State law offers no defense against prosecution for someone simply because they were not qualified to act, Kmieciak wrote in the brief. She said O’Donnell would have accepted a “benefit” of $ 10,000 as “consideration” for taking official action in the future.

“His only defense – that he was not qualified to act in the way he wanted when he entered into this illicit deal” because he had not yet taken office – is in fact no defense against the criminal liability.

At the same time, she said that despite the appeal court’s ruling in the Manzo case, federal law itself had been misinterpreted.

O’Donnell was originally indicted in December 2019 along with four other political candidates and officials accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and cash winnings from Morristown attorney Matthew O’Donnell – who is not related to Jason O’Donnell. The lawyer was in fact secretly cooperating with prosecutors after being caught up in a separate corruption investigation involving years of payments and donations.

After a series of meetings with the lawyer that were secretly taped, Jason O’Donnell was accused of accepting $ 10,000 in “street money” for his 2018 mayoral campaign. He allegedly promised Matt O’Donnell that if elected, the post of Bayonne’s tax attorney would be his, according to complaints in the case.

Since the multi-year undercover operation came to light, however, the undercover operation has come under increasing criticism from city officials questioning whether prosecutors overstepped the line in staging an operation. infiltration that ended up enriching their informant on the backs of taxpayers.

Internal memos and interview notes obtained by NJ Advance Media revealed that while Matthew O’Donnell was working secretly with authorities, his Morristown law firm was cleared by prosecutors to amass more than 6, $ 5 million in 17 cities across the state.

Most of those charged in the case were low-level politicians, including the wife of a mayor who has seen corruption charges against her dismissed. She was sentenced to probation for petty campaign offenses that did not result in jail time.

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Our journalism needs your support. Please register today for NJ.com.

Ted Sherman can be reached at tsherman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on twitter @TedShermanSL.



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After 17 years on death row, Oregon court grants new trial to man https://criminaljustice-online.com/after-17-years-on-death-row-oregon-court-grants-new-trial-to-man/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/after-17-years-on-death-row-oregon-court-grants-new-trial-to-man/#respond Thu, 07 Oct 2021 00:10:40 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/after-17-years-on-death-row-oregon-court-grants-new-trial-to-man/ The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a black man sentenced to death for 17 years. The court said in Wednesday’s ruling that evidence that had never been presented at Jesse Lee Johnson’s 2004 trial was the fault of a bad defense attorney at the time. This evidence consisted of a […]]]>

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a black man sentenced to death for 17 years.

The court said in Wednesday’s ruling that evidence that had never been presented at Jesse Lee Johnson’s 2004 trial was the fault of a bad defense attorney at the time. This evidence consisted of a decades-old witness to the Salem homicide. The Court of Appeal also ruled that the judge who oversaw Johnson’s post-conviction case erroneously held that the evidence would not have altered the conviction at trial.

“It was a case where there had been a series of mistakes that led to this injustice,” said Ryan O’Connor, Johnson’s attorney. “Consistently, it’s a recognition of how police misconduct and racism cause wrongful convictions and injustices. “

Supreme Court of Oregon in Salem, Oregon on May 19, 2021.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

The Oregon Department of Justice has 35 days to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court. Otherwise, the case will return to Marion County where the district attorney’s office will conduct a review before deciding to try the case again.

“Until a full review is completed, we are unable to discuss the details of the case, the appeal decision or next steps,” Deputy District Attorney Amy Queen said in a statement.

In the early morning hours of March 20, 1998, Harriet Thompson was stabbed in her home in Salem. Police arrested Johnson a week later for a probation violation. Johnson told police he knew Thompson. Police had recovered fingerprints and a cigarette butt with his DNA from Thompson’s apartment. Johnson said he “stole the bitch to steal her”, according to a police informant. This informant made conflicting statements to Johnson’s defense team, but ultimately stuck with the prosecution at trial. A witness also said the jewelry in Johnson’s possession matched jewelry that belonged to Thompson.

In 2004, a jury found Johnson guilty and sentenced him to death. Since 2011, Oregon governors have maintained a moratorium on the death penalty that ended executions, including that of Johnson.

During Johnson’s post-conviction case that ended in 2015, investigators discovered a witness who was never contacted by police or the defense team.

In a 2013 deposition, Patricia Hubbard, one of Thompson’s neighbors, said she was sitting on her porch at 3:45 a.m. on the morning of the murder. Hubbard said he saw a white man get into a van, park in Thompson’s driveway and walk inside. She recognized the man as someone who had been to Thompson’s house several times.

Hubbard heard screams and a fight inside the house. She said she recognized the man’s voice as being the same white man she had seen several times at Thompson’s. As the screams got louder, Hubbard said he heard “sounds of pots and pans crashing” and screams that “got higher, louder and more intense as the it lasted, ”the appeals court said in its ruling. “She heard screams, then a thud, then total silence.”

After about 30 minutes, Hubbard saw the man come out the back door, his feet “didn’t even touch the steps,” the decision notes.

“’I just stole some steps and I ran away… flying,” said Hubbard.

After seeing the man, Hubbard got a call and had to return to work, according to his testimony. When she returned home later that morning, the police were in her neighborhood. Hubbard said she told an officer outside the crime scene that she had information that could help with the case. The officer told her to go home, she said.

Later a neighbor brought a Salem Police detective to Hubbard’s home

According to Hubbard, the detective stopped her from recounting what had happened and said the case was moving forward. In that exchange, Hubbard said the detective used a racial slur to refer to both Thompson, who was black, and Johnson. The court noted in its ruling that this was evidence of racial bias in the police investigation and a failure to properly investigate.

Separately, Johnson’s original defense team spent just six hours prospecting the neighborhood. They never spoke to Hubbard.

The appeals court agreed that Hubbard’s testimony at trial could have been important and affected the outcome.

“A competent lawyer would have recognized the importance in a capital murder case of contacting persons nearby who were likely to have information about the victim, persons associated with the residence and the events of the night in question, when a violent murder took place at a nearby house in the wee hours of the morning, when many residents would probably have been at the house, ”the court concluded.

Jesse Lee Johnson was convicted of aggravated murder in 2004 and sentenced to death.  On October 6, 2021, the Oregon Court of Appeals ordered a new trial after agreeing that defense attorneys for Johnson at the time had not done enough to find a key witness who could have changed the results.

Jesse Lee Johnson was convicted of aggravated murder in 2004 and sentenced to death. On October 6, 2021, the Oregon Court of Appeals ordered a new trial after agreeing that defense attorneys for Johnson at the time had not done enough to find a key witness who could have changed the results.

Ryan o’connor

The Court of Appeal also ruled that the post-conviction judge erred in determining that Hubbard’s omission in the original trial did not prejudice Johnson’s case.

“A reasonable investigation would likely have led to finding and questioning Hubbard, which in turn would have led to evidence and testimony which might have tended to affect the outcome of the trial,” the court said.

Lawyers working with Johnson have also raised questions about other crime scene evidence. While Johnson’s DNA was found on a cigarette in Thompson’s apartment, it was not found in anything closely associated with the murder.

“Of the evidence that was tested for DNA, none matched [Johnson]», Declared the court. “[He] had boots which had soles similar to those which left traces in the blood at the scene of the murder, but the applicant’s boots did not test positive for blood.

O’Connor said there was DNA from an unknown person in the apartment. Blood from the crime scene was recovered from Thompson’s bathroom, but forensic testing showed it did not belong to Thompson or Johnson.

“The DNA where you would expect the killer to be is not Johnson’s,” O’Connor said.

The Oregon Innocence Project is representing Johnson in an ongoing appeal regarding DNA evidence testing in Johnson’s case.


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Vatican judges in fraud trial agree defense rights have been violated https://criminaljustice-online.com/vatican-judges-in-fraud-trial-agree-defense-rights-have-been-violated/ https://criminaljustice-online.com/vatican-judges-in-fraud-trial-agree-defense-rights-have-been-violated/#respond Wed, 06 Oct 2021 09:32:34 +0000 https://criminaljustice-online.com/vatican-judges-in-fraud-trial-agree-defense-rights-have-been-violated/ VATICAN CITY (AP) – The Vatican court hearing a landmark fraud case on Wednesday ruled that prosecutors stripped 10 defendants of their rights and ordered prosecutors to turn over key evidence and redo their case. investigation for some suspects. The President of the Tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, said that there had been “lamentable violations” on the […]]]>

VATICAN CITY (AP) – The Vatican court hearing a landmark fraud case on Wednesday ruled that prosecutors stripped 10 defendants of their rights and ordered prosecutors to turn over key evidence and redo their case. investigation for some suspects.

The President of the Tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, said that there had been “lamentable violations” on the part of the Pope’s prosecutors in not giving the suspects the opportunity to respond to all the charges brought against them during the preliminary phase of investigation.

Pignatone also reiterated his July 29 order for prosecutors to turn over video recordings of a key suspect-turned-star witness whose testimony formed the basis of several of the indictment charges. He dismissed as incomprehensible the prosecutors’ arguments that the witness’s privacy would be compromised if the tapes were turned over to the defense.

The lawsuit concerns the Holy See’s investment in 2013 in a London real estate company who lost tens of millions of euros in the Vatican, including a large part of donations from the faithful which were spent in fees for Italian brokers.

Prosecutors charged brokers of defrauding the Holy See, and several Vatican officials of abuse of office, corruption and other accusations.

The most complicated trial in recent Vatican history has been touted as proof of Pope Francis’ intransigent attitude towards financial embezzlement. But Pignatone’s decision exposed the fundamental flaws of Vatican prosecutors, who had previously been criticized by a British judge for making “appalling” misstatements and omissions. in a related asset seizure case.

Defense lawyers had argued that procedural errors made by prosecutors during the investigation phase were so damaging to suspects’ rights to defend themselves. that the charges should be dismissed entirely.

The three-judge court refused to issue a blanket quashing of the indictment for the 10 suspects. But in a decision read aloud Wednesday in court, Pigantone said four people were to be questioned on all charges, and identified some charges that others should be given the opportunity to respond to.

Defense lawyers said they were happy with the decision, noting that the court accepted their objections and identified shortcomings in the prosecution‘s case.

Giandomenico Caiazzza, lawyer for broker Raffaele Mincione, said the ruling amounted to quashing the indictment against his client, who handled London’s initial investment for the Vatican and is accused of embezzling funds and fraud.

“I think maybe this is the start of a different reading of this whole thing,” Caiazzza said.

According to the lawyer, Mincione was never formally invited to appear for questioning during the investigation and refused to appear alone after another broker did and was jailed for 10 days in the Vatican barracks.

Caiazza said the court ruling showed “that there were no conditions for procedural legitimacy for an indictment. Its very important.”

Pignatone also ordered prosecutors to make available hours of testimony recorded by Bishop Alberto Perlasca, who was the Vatican official most closely involved in the London deal. He was originally a key suspect since he signed the contracts with the brokers.

But after his initial questioning, Perlasca fired his lawyer and apparently began to cooperate with prosecutors. The information from his subsequent interviews was so important to the prosecution’s case that it spared him the indictment and formed the basis of several charges.

One of his charges led to a witness tampering charge against Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the only cardinal to stand trial. Becciu only learned of the accusation in the indictment and never had a chance to respond to it until the trial began, according to his lawyer.

He will now have the opportunity, with the benefit of the defense having seen Perlasca’s original testimony videotaped.

“Everything we opposed was accepted,” lawyer Fabio Viglione said.


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