5 years, 10 months ago
From The Daily Caller:
Texas criminal defense lawyers are investigating the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious investigation of cross-border gun smuggling, using routine “discovery” rules that allow defendants to look for flaws in prosecutors’ evidence, statements and purpose.
“As the lawyer for Jose Sauceda–Cuevas, I’ve got to look at every possibility,” including agency misconduct, that would help him in the courtroom, said David Dudley, a Harvard-trained criminal defense lawyer based in Los Angeles.
The U.S. Attorney for the Arizona district is charging Dudley’s client with 25 counts related to gun trafficking. The charges include 10 false statement made during gun purchases, five identity theft charges, five counts for felony possession of a gun, and “five counts of Illegal Alien in Possession of a Firearm,” according to a May 19 press statement.
“The defendant orchestrated straw purchases of over 110 assault rifles and pistols in a multi–state enterprise to provide weapons for the drug war” in Mexico, the statement said.
The case is one in set of prosecutions covering 17 defendants charged in five separate cases that involve more than 300 weapons, most of which are “AK–47–type rifles and automatic pistols that were recovered in Mexico, Arizona and Texas,” read the statement.
[ … ]
Dudley is working with another client’s attorney to launch the discovery investigations. But neither will get to investigate the investigators unless the trial judges approves their request for discovery.
“I have no idea” if the judges will grant discovery, Dudley said. But, he said, “I assume [prosecutors] will anticipate that we will look at every possibility for our client.”
“Anything he files in court, we’ll respond to appropriately in court,” said Robbie Sherwood, a spokesman for the Arizona prosecutor, based in Phoenix, Ariz.
“I think there’s a pretty good chance of getting discovery if they show it is relevant to a defense,” said Dick DeGuerin, a Houston-based lawyer who persuaded the federal government last year to quit its gun-trafficking investigation of the Carter’s Country, a four-store chain of hunting shops in Texas.
“Orders from either a Justice Department official or from supervisors in ATF to allow the sale to go forward … will be relevant” to a defense, he said. “It certainly might be used in mitigation” of a tough sentence.
The abbreviated charges outlined above track with the original indictment of Jose Sauceda-Cuevas. I would be willing to place a wager on the term “automatic pistols” (in both the article and the indictment) being false information, and that the pistols are in fact semi-automatic. At least part of Dudley’s defense will be that Mr. Sauceda-Cuevas attempted to do something illegal, and would have been denied that chance had the gun shop owners been allowed to do what they wanted to do in the first place, which is refuse to sell. As it was, illegaility on the part of the ATF played a role in Sauceda-Cuevas’ crime[s].
Entrapment has been successfully argued in similar and other circumstances. Without knowing the outcome of the case, it is true that Project Gunrunner has not only placed weapons in the hands of criminals in Mexico, it has also made the case against legitimate targets such a firearms trafficker less certain. The consequences of Project Gunrunner just keep rolling. We are only at the tip of the iceberg.