Sunday, December 06, 2009

Ben Kuehne event and other weekend news

This should be something:

In Grateful Appreciation of the
Overwhelming Community Support of his Innocence

Invites the Community to his
On the Occasion of his Vindication

Sky lobby
Bank of America tower
100 S.E. 2nd Street
Miami, Florida 33131
Thursday, December 10, 2009
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
RSVP to:

In other news, former AUSAs Mike Tein and Richard Scruggs sqaured off before their state court trial, which starts Monday morning. Tein filed a motion alleging prosecutorial misconduct and the judge allowed Tein to cross-examine Scruggs. Apparently, there were fireworks:

Fri., Dec. 4 2009 @ 9:11PM

Richard Scruggs is usually the guy asking people tough questions and getting witnesses to spill the beans. But today Miami-Dade's veteran public corruption prosecutor was on the receiving end of an intense grilling. And he was not enjoying himself.It went down inside the courtroom of Judge Beatrice Butchko in the Miami-Dade criminal justice building at 1351 NW 12th Street. The man putting the screws on Scruggs was Michael Tein, the criminal defense lawyer representing Rev. Gaston Smith, who is facing grand theft charge for allegedly stealing $17,000 in county grant money.Tein accuses Scruggs of prosecutorial misconduct in Smith's case.During several hours of testimony this afternoon, Scruggs's answers went from terse to angry. At one point he growled: "Mr. Tein will you calm the rhetoric please."He repeatedly denied he acted with malicious intent when he waited a month to inform Smith and Smith's other criminal defense attorney that a Miami-Dade police detective had secretly recorded two conversations they had with Scruggs and investigators before the clergyman was indicted. Tein zealously quizzed Scruggs if he ever informed Smith that he was a criminal target during the pastor's interviews before he was arrested. "No, no, no, no," Scruggs grumbled. "You got that!"
Scruggs disputed comments attributed to him by Miami New Times staff writer Gus Garcia-Roberts in this profile of Smith. He claims he never told Garcia-Roberts Smith had rejected a plea deal in exchange for his testimony against suspended Miami city commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. (Scruggs is prosecuting her for allegedly stealing $50,000 in county funds.) Scruggs also denied telling Garcia-Roberts that he had reported Smith to the Internal Revenue Service for possible tax evasion. "Absolutely not," Scruggs said under oath. "I don't recall talking about taxes at all."Judge Butchko appeared skeptical. She asked: "So how would the reporter know that if he didn't get it from you? Is the reporter clairvoyant?"Scruggs' reply: "I don't know." He said that alot during his inquisition. And the assistant state attorney conceded that he did tell Garcia-Roberts that Smith "was caught with his hand in the cookie jar." But he claimed it was off the record.Then Scruggs revealed something that just made no sense. When Tein asked him why he didn't complain to New Times editor Chuck Strouse or demand a correction, Scruggs says he decided not to because "no one reads this stuff anyway." Tein: "No one reads the New Times?"Scruggs: "Yeah, Uh-huh."

Apparently, court went until 9:30 Friday night with Tein throwing punch after punch against Scruggs. This trial (preview here by the Miami Herald) should be a fun one to watch.

UPDATE -- here's another New Times article on the hearing, and here is a portion of the transcript including part of Tein's cross of Scruggs and the judge's ruling.


Anonymous said...

Apparently, the Judge described many of Scruggs' answers as "flippant," finding that the defendant and his attorney were "unlawfully" tape recorded secretly in Scruggs' office. She described Scruggs' failing to disclose evidence as "very unprofessional," and the arrest of the defendant as "not professional." The Judge expressed disbelief that Scruggs admitted that he "intentionally tried to get around a lawful public records request" from the media. She also found that his multiple leaks to a reporter on the eve of trial were "very improper." Wow! David, please post the Court's order. If this is all true, which is hard to believe, the real question is what is the State Attorney going to do to remedy Judge Butchko's findings?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like every other AUSA who get's caught with their hand in jar.

The Straw Buyer said...

" If this is all true, which is hard to believe, the real question is what is the State Attorney going to do to remedy Judge Butchko's findings?"

Why is it hard to believe?! I've been writing about a case for nearly six months where the prosecutors misconduct makes Asa Scruggs behavior look trivial in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Marcus, can you post the Judge's order on this? Thanks.