June 29, 2011
The Wrong Judge and the Lindsey FCPA Trial Bombshell
If I were a federal prosecutor in the Central District of California I would not want to tick off Judge Howard Matz. But that's just what federal prosecutors in the Lindsey Manufacturing FCPA case have done. Matz is an exceptionally thoughtful and intelligent jurist. He is also a former AUSA whose son is a Central District prosecutor. So Matz knows when things aren't right. And things aren't right in the Lindsey Manufacturing case. On Monday, during post-verdict proceedings, AUSA Doug Miller revealed that the government had inadvertently violated a court order by failing to turn over portions of FBI Special Agent Susan Guernsey's grand jury testimony to the defense. Matz was shocked, according to this excellent LAW360 story (subscription required) by Zach Winnick. "I shouldn't be shocked, because it's not the first time you and your colleagues have trailed into court with excuses and benign mea culpas." Ouch.
It is clear from Winnick's piece that Matz has long been troubled with various aspects of the government's presentation. Now Matz is ordering additional briefing on whether the guilty verdicts should be overturned and the case dismissed. My colleague Ellen Podgor posted here in March on earlier Brady problems encountered by the government. And Winnick reported here in May (in LAW360) on Judge Matz's harsh criticism of some of the government's summary charts. Matz called the charts, "ill-advised, misleading, and shockingly incomplete." Oral arguments on the defense motions to dismiss are set for September 8.
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