Sunday, January 16, 2005

What is Scrushy Doing While the Trial Is Delayed?

According the the Atlanta Jrl Const. (AJC) the Scrushy trial is delayed a week as the prosecution "unloaded thousands of documents containing potential evidence on Scrushy right before opening statements were set to begin Jan. 18, spurring the judge to delay the trial by a week."  (See Post of Jan. 11)

Discovery material that is exculpatory, often called Brady material, needs to be provided to defense when it is received.  In contrast, witness statements (Jencks material) does not have to be provided to defense counsel until after the witness has testified.  The problem this creates is that defense counsel then needs to be given an opportunity to review this material - and thus there can be break in the trial.  To alleviate this problem, most federal prosecutors provide the material prior to the start of trial.  But what happens when the prosecution does a "document dump" right when the trial is ready to begin?  Clearly, it means that the trial gets delayed.  And that is what happened here. 

So what is Scrushy doing until January 25th when the trial begins?  According to the AJC.  "Scrushy and his wife, Leslie, have been hosting a half-hour Christian-themed talk show every weekday morning on local television."  And what is the prosecution doing?  Well, according to the AJC the lead prosecutor on the case,  "reportedly tapes the show in case Scrushy --- or occasional guest Donald Watkins, Scrushy's attorney --- say anything that can be used against him."   But no one really knows for sure because the court has imposed a gag order on the attorneys in the case.


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