Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BingoGate: Court GRANTS motion to allow witness access to wiretaps

McGregor can play the tape.  Snerdly, Cut One.

Since the government was also planning to share wiretap contents with witnesses for the prosecution, it’s not unusual for today’s ruling. Indeed, counsel for defendant McGregor had already discussed the matter with Pete Ainsworth of the prosecution team and the prosecution did not object. 

Accordingly, US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel has GRANTED defendant McGregor’s motion for permission to share the recordings themselves, provide transcripts of the conversations or discuss the contents of the conversations with potential witnesses who were parties to the calls.

With one important caveat:

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“However, Defendant is instructed that he is have any prospective witness execute a confidential agreement, wherein they agree to keep the contents of the wire-tap recorded conversations confidential until the time of trial.”

That caveat is consistent with Capel’s February 8, 2011 order granting motions to file under seal and, while court documents don’t explicitly say so, the caveat strongly suggests that Capel also granted the government’s motion for a gag order.

Exit question (same as before): It’s easy for a lawyer to comply with a gag order. It’s pretty easy to keep the clients quiet, too. It get’s a little more difficult to still the tongues of client families, client friends & associates, client families’ friends & associates, so forth and so on. What are the chances something leaks between now and the anticipated trial date of June 6, 2011?

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