Boy oh boy what a disaster is unfolding in Judge Gold’s courtroom, in the aftermath of the acquital of Dr. Ali Shaygan by uber-trial mensch David O. Markus:
U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold, who held two days of hearings this week on the matter, said there were “flagrant violations” of basic rules by prosecutors and indicated he would likely order the U.S. government to pay the defense lawyers thousands of dollars in fees and costs.
“It’s more than just mistakes. Important safeguards were not met,” Gold said. “It doesn’t seem like any facts were verified.”
U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta on Wednesday called the situation “regrettable” and said the allegations have been referred to the U.S. Justice Department for possible disciplinary action.
The misconduct claims arose earlier this month during the trial of Dr. Ali Shaygan, 36, who was accused in a 141-count indictment of writing illegal prescriptions including one that led to a patient’s death from a methadone overdose. Shaygan, acquitted last week of all charges, had faced a minimum of 20 years in prison because of that person’s death.
During the trial, Shaygan attorney David O. Markus found out by chance during questioning of a witness that his prior telephone conversation with that witness had been recorded. It later turned out that prosecutors authorized two witnesses – Carlos Vento and Trinity Clendening – to secretly record their phone calls with Markus and his investigator, Michael Graff.
At least one witness seemed to ask Markus to pay a bribe for testimony, according to the recordings. But Markus wouldn’t go along.
“I am not paying any money for anything,” the attorney said in one recording, according to a transcript.
In addition, Vento and Clendening had agreed to become confidential informants for the Drug Enforcement Administration – a critical fact never disclosed to the defense. Such information is important in criminal trials because a jury could otherwise never learn that the witnesses might have a bias in favor of prosecutors.
Of course David did the right thing — no one would expect anything different. Can the same be said of the other actors involved in this tawdry drama?David, always so serious.
Now me, if I had suspected the feds were recording me without my knowledge, I would have sang old Dr. Demento songs, Tom Lehrer, probably would have done a little Allan Sherman, you know, the classics…..hey my singing voice is quite good.