For months now I’ve been suggesting that the government has bluffed some big named defendants and their lawyers in the Pellicano wiretapping cases. As a result of the federal puffery some of Pellicano’s indicted clients have fallen on their swords accepting felony convictions and “reduced” sentences by pleading guilty to wiretapping related crimes. Guilty pleas are usually a defendant’s last resort to avoid standing trial.
You’d think after such high profile cases like Martha Stewart’s that people would be smart enough not to answer questions from the FBI when our Constitution protects us from having to do that. One small lie to an FBI agent can net you a prison term. That begs the simple question, why should anyone ever say anything at all to the FBI? The natural urge to talk one’s self out of trouble rarely helps.
Savvy defense lawyers can usually tell when the government can’t deliver all they’ve threatened with when the discovery material is only slowly provided and proves both redundant and lacking. A recent and clumsy example of that can be seen in Mike Nifong’s Duke Lacrosse Rape case.
There is always a common thread in every high profile case that prosecutors announce. They and law enforcement love to parade any evidence they claim to have with their gratuitous press briefings of arrests and Indictments. Prosecutors also know that these big cases take years to resolve. Usually just long enough that the public has forgotten the prosecution’s unfulfilled claims.
The biggest bluff they like to use is suggesting they have or will have and inside, wrongdoing, snitch they’ve twisted by granting him immunity from prosecution.
When the prosecutor’s hide their cards (discovery) that’s always a sign that they’re bluffing. If there’s a moral to this story for defendants it’s to shut up and wait and see what kind of a case the prosecution really has before confessing guilt.
As I see it Pellicano could, win freedom and a new life anywhere he wants if he’d only agree to cooperate with the government and destroy lots of his own clients along the way. So far that has not happened as the five-year statute of limitations has been slipping away.
One thing more, the issue of search, seizure and admissibility of evidence can’t begin to be litigated until all the evidence is disclosed to the defense. That has not yet happened. Like I said before that’s no small matter in this case.
Read the latest the L.A. Times is saying here.