Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The so-called Detroit Terrorism trial, which ended with the government admitting that its theory of prosecution was unsupported by the evidence, resulted in an apology by outgoing Deputy Attorney General James Comey recently. An AP story (here) quotes Comey as stating, "I think that the people we represent -- the people of the United States -- were owed an apology for the way the work was done in that particular matter." While the government dismissed the terror-related charges against the two defendants convicted of those offenses in the earlier trial, it did subsequently indict both men on fraud charges related to an attempted insurance fraud involving a claim for $15,000 from a fake auto accident -- a claim that was never paid. An AP story (here) reveals internal DOJ e-mails around the time of the trial regarding the fraud charge, expressing concern that bringing such a charge might be perceived as "vindictive" if brought after the defendants were acquitted or a mistrial declared. The e-mails give a rare inside look at assessment of the charges by the prosecutors. One defendant entered a guilty plea to the fraud charge, a second one awaits trial.
An additional aspect of the case that remains active is the investigation of Richard Convertino, one of the prosecutors, and others for conduct related to the investigation and trial. Convertino resigned on Monday from the Department of Justice, which will likely end the investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility (see AP story here). (ph)