OFF THE WIRE
A federal judge, for the second time in three months, has chastised prosecutors for their handling of the Chosen Few motorcycle club case.
In a sharply worded ruling, Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy said the U.S. Attorney’s Office played “Russian roulette” with a court-imposed deadline.
The judge’s ruling stems from the prosecution’s failure to meet his deadline for producing information about grand jury testimony in the racketeering case.
“The untimely production was not an oversight, but instead resulted from the government’s conscious decision to disobey my order as written, and roll the dice,” McCarthy said in his decision.
As a result, he added, the court will not consider the information provided a day late by the prosecution. McCarthy had previously ruled that prosecutors had improperly influenced the grand jury, but he had given them an opportunity to explain why they hadn’t.
“While one could argue that a single business day’s delay in production of the grand jury materials is not significantly prejudicial, the deliberate violation of a court order is,” McCarthy said.
The judge went so far as to name the two prosecutors handling the grand jury matter — Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.P. Kennedy and Anthony Bruce.
McCarthy’s ruling also marks the second time he has criticized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in recent months.
In August, he suggested Bruce might have crossed the line in seeking racketeering charges against members of the Chosen Few during grand jury proceedings.
The grand jury investigation led to racketeering charges against 20 members and associates of the motorcycle club.
At the heart of the government’s case against the Chosen Few is the allegation that it engaged in criminal activity ranging from assaults to firebombings.
Defense lawyers, meanwhile, praised McCarthy’s latest ruling.
“It goes to show how seriously Judge McCarthy is taking defense motions about the prosecution’s misconduct,” said Patrick J. Brown. The U. S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on McCarthy’s ruling, although prosecutors previously denied any wrongdoing.