Dependable Erection

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Noted without comment

From the AP:
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino and Harry Smith III have pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, making false declarations before a court and conspiracy. Jurors heard closing arguments Tuesday in the trial, which has lasted three weeks.

For two years, Convertino led the government's case against four North African men in Detroit accused of operating a "sleeper" terrorist cell. Smith helped in the investigation and testified for the government at the trial.

Two of the four men were convicted in 2003, and Convertino won praise from the Bush administration for his successful convictions.

A federal judge overturned the verdicts after prosecutors discovered that some documents that could have aided the defense during the trial were not turned over by the government as required.

Convertino's indictment last year said he and Smith conspired to keep from defense lawyers photographs of a Jordanian hospital that would have undermined the government's argument that the alleged cell made surveillance sketches of the place.

A former federal prosecutor was acquitted Wednesday of withholding evidence from the defense during the nation's first major terrorism trial after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The government said Richard Convertino wanted so badly to win convictions in the case that he broke the law. But Convertino's lawyers insisted he did nothing wrong and had no reason to hide evidence against four North African men accused of operating a "sleeper" terrorist cell.

"It's a just end to a politically motivated prosecution," Convertino said after the verdict was read.

The jury reached its decision after less than a day of deliberations. It also acquitted Harry Smith III, a former State Department investigator.



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