As posted here last night, US District Judge Myron Thompson of the Middle District of Alabama denied a bond revocation appeal by Country Crossings owner Ronnie Gilley. Gilley will remain in the custody of the US Marshall until he and the remaining defendants in USA vs. McGregor et al will stand trial on federal bribery and corruption charges in June.
The government very nearly blew this one, and the reason why is the same reason that the government blew the prosecution of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens in 2008. Brenda Morris.
In October of that year, Morris was part of the prosecution team that won a conviction against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens for failure to report gifts—including renovations to his home and other gifts allegedly worth more than $250,000. However, in February 2009, Morris was cited by District Judge Emmet Sullivan for contempt of court. The citation was for failing to turn over documents in connection with a FBI agent’s complaint accusing prosecutorial misconduct. In his citation order, Judge Sullivan termed the conduct of the prosecution “outrageous.”
Days later, DOJ removed Morris and five other lawyers from the case, and in April 2009, DOJ filed a motion to set aside the verdict and dismiss the charges against Stevens. Judge Sullivan granted that motion and vacated the conviction, freeing Stevens.
Two central disputes in the Mcgregor et al case are that (1) the government has been uncooperative in handing over evidence to the defendants, and that the mish-mash of stuff handed over is impossible to analyze for trial preparation and (2) that the government overstepped its authority in conducting the wiretaps and other electronic surveillance.
It should sound familiar, and it sounds like a case of prosecutorial incompetence. Peter Ainsworth and the Public Integrity Section staff have been doing an outstanding job. Brenda Morris seems determined to %$#^ it up. From yesterday’s decision by Judge Thompson:
Exit Question: A decision from the Court is expected on the admissibility of the wiretap evidence any day now. Does the Stevens case rear its ugly head, or does Ainsworth escape with his case intact and figure out that Morris shouldn’t even be within spitting distance of this case?