Thursday, December 11, 2003

A black eye for Ashcroft?

The Bush administration's first major post-Sept. 11 prosecution, which broke up a terrorist cell in Detroit, is in danger of unraveling after the Justice Department divulged it had failed to turn over evidence that might have helped the defense. The evidence includes a letter from an imprisoned drug gang leader who alleges the government's key witness confided he made up some of his story.

The December 2001 letter, which could have been used by defense lawyers to challenge the prosecution witness during the trial this spring, wasn't turned over until a couple of weeks ago.

The defendants are now asking that their convictions be overturned, and the judge has scheduled an emergency hearing for tomorrow to demand an explanation from the government.

...Senior law enforcement officials told the Associated Press yesterday the Justice Department is concerned how the judge will rule and will acknowledge that its prosecutors erred....

--Boston Globe/AP

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