The details of the following case are quite disturbing and honestly the people on trial are state sponsored criminals in their own right. That said, if the allegations by the defense are true, that behavior by the prosecution is unacceptable. Especially since it provides an avenue of escape for the guilty. Here’s the details though:
The defendants then filed a motion with Judge Engelhardt for new trials, claiming that the government attorneys had “engaged in a secret public relations campaign … [to ensure] that public opinion would be inflamed against the defendants, and that the government’s version of the facts would be well known before anyone set foot in a courtroom.” This was done through leaks to the media about “the activities of the federal grand jury, the identities of targets, the status of plea negotiations, and other sensitive confidential information that became widely known publicly before trial.”
There were also anonymous postings on Nola.com, the website run by the New Orleans Times Picayune, “both before and during the trial.” These postings “mocked the defense, attacked the defendants and their attorneys, were approbatory of the United States Department of Justice, declared the defendants obviously guilty, and discussed the jury’s deliberations.”
The two lawyers in question definitely should have known better and there was no actual ground to be gained by their behavior. If anything this is like throwing a curve for the defense to hit on appeal. No matter how I look at this, it stinks.
State Sponsored Criminal #468: US Attorney Salvador Perricone
State Sponsored Criminal #469: US Attorney Jim Letten
Because Federal Rules of Criminal procedure are for everyone else to follow. Besides, they’re not really rules, they’re guidelines. Especially if we’re trying to get our own out of a jam.
h/t Bob S.