Monday, December 14, 2009

Media Leaks Lead to Stunning Dismissal

The U.S. Government suffered a "stunning" dismissal of a guilty plea last week of Henry Samueli (pictured), owner of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, after Assistant U.S. Attorneys were accused of engaging in prosecutorial misconduct: intimidating defendants and leaking information to the media.

All of this happened in the heart of the Rove-Bush-Cheney Republican world: Orange County, California.

According to the Orange County Register:
A federal judge's decision to toss the guilty plea of Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli – in the middle of the trial of another defendant – was highly unusual and has implications for related cases, lawyers unconnected to the case said today. "I have never, ever heard of this from any judge anywhere in the country," said Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor who is a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange. "It is stunning." After hearing Samueli's testimony, and without giving prosecutors a chance to argue, Carney told Samueli on Wednesday that he was setting aside his guilty plea and throwing out the criminal charge against him of lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission. John Hueston, a former top federal prosecutor in Orange County who now does white-collar defense work, said Carney's ruling was "virtually unprecedented and extraordinary." "Here, the defense effectively put the government on trial but was aided by some real-time misconduct by the government during the trial itself," Hueston said.
Bloomberg news wire gives more details and insight:
“I’ve looked at the plea agreement, I’ve listened to your testimony, and you didn’t make a false material statement,” Carney told Samueli, according to a transcript of the proceeding. Carney said that answers Samueli provided to the SEC may have appeared evasive and non-responsive. Based on Samueli’s testimony in court, those answers were truthful, the judge said. Samueli could have faced five years in prison for making a material false statement which his response to the SEC’s questions didn’t justify, Carney said.

“The fact that you truly understood what happened here means a lot to me,” Samueli said to the judge according to the transcript. “You have restored my faith in the criminal justice system, and I must be honest, that faith was shaken in the early days of this whole process.” Carney said he was “a little bit disturbed” by the way the government had treated Samueli and that he would take appropriate action at the appropriate time. The judge earlier agreed to Samueli’s request to bar one prosecutor from cross- examining him because he allegedly leaked information about Samueli’s grand jury testimony to reporters.
Media leaks to traditional reporters and bloggers appears to be standard operating procedure for many corrupt Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Rove Republican Racket.who wish to influence the jury pool.

Readers may recall that big-mouth New Jersey U.S. Attorney or that leaky U.S. Attorney's office in Mississippi.

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