Lead Prosecutor and Agent in Detroit Terror Trial Indicted
The Department of Justice has issued a press release stating that Richard Convertino, the lead prosecutor in the failed Detroit terrorism trial, who later claimed to be a whistleblower and sued Ashcroft, has been indicted.
A former federal prosecutor and a Department of State special agent were indicted by a federal grand jury today in Detroit on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false declarations in the 2003 terrorism trial United States v. Koubriti in the Eastern District of Michigan, the Department of Justice announced today.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard G. Convertino, 45, of Canton, Mich., and Regional Security Officer Harry Raymond Smith III, 49, were named in the indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Detroit. The grand jury also charged Convertino with obstruction of justice in a second criminal case in the Eastern District of Michigan described only as United States v. John Doe.
The Indictment alleges they concealed evidence from the defense and presented false evidence to the court:
The indictment alleges that Convertino and Smith concealed photographs of a key site from the defendants and others at trial, and presented false testimony indicating that they were unable to obtain photographs of the site. According to the indictment, Smith testified falsely at trial the he had not and could not take photographs of Queen Alia Hospital. In fact, the indictment alleges that at the time Smith testified, he had already taken photographs of the site and, when they did not come out well enough, he asked colleagues to take additional photographs of the site for Convertino. The indictment charges that Convertino received the additional photographs of the site, but concealed them from the defense and others.
Convertino is also charged with obstruction of justice in another case in which he allegedly gave false information to a judge to obtain a lesser sentence for a cooperating individual.
Convertino is also charged with obstructing justice in a second criminal case, United States v. John Doe, in which it is alleged that Convertino presented false information in a sentencing hearing in order to obtain an unusual downward departure for a defendant, from a guidelines range of 108 to 135 months imprisonment to just eight months with credit for all of it already served.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge told Convertino, the defendant and the defense attorney: "I have never seen such a gross disparity between the sentencing guidelines and the Rule 11 plea agreement. So I must have some very good reasons for the difference."
According to today's indictment, as part of satisfying the judge's demand at the sentencing hearing, Convertino falsely suggested that the original narcotics prosecutor had doubts about the accuracy of the amounts of drugs attributed to the defendant. The indictment also charges that Convertino misled the court about the nature and extent of the defendant's cooperation with the government.
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