Be careful whom you sue

Mueller's PR stunt of filing charges against Russian companies unexpectedly pitted him against flesh-eating lawyers for a client with nothing to lose.  The prosecution is horrified by the prospect of having to turn over Brady material to the defendants.


E Hines said...

Leaving aside the Prigozhin team's own pettifoggery, there are some serious questions involved here--it's what I mean when I argue that discovery can be fun.

The Prigozhin team should refuse to settle, and they should refuse to let the Mueller team drop the indictments. They should, instead, demand--loudly and in no uncertain terms (my "no uncertain terms," not those of someone more genteel)--their speedy and public trial. No delays: Mueller's team clearly is ready for trial or they would not have brought the charges.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

I read that Mueller's team was going to pass this off to another team of prosecutors brought on just to handle this. Not quite sure how that would protect them from having to turn over exculpatory evidence, though: the B-team might be kept from having access to damning evidence, which might mean that they wouldn't have to turn it over to the defense (since they wouldn't be using it for prosecution purposes). But that surely can't work for exculpatory evidence, can it? Otherwise you'd always create a B-team that was forbidden from knowing anything exculpatory about the defendants.

Texan99 said...

No, the standard is what's in the control of the state, not an isolated team.

Also, I'm not sure the defense has standing to object to a dismissal of charges. The judge can insist that the dismissal be with prejudice to refiling, I think.

douglas said...

That brings up an interesting question: Should there be the ability of the defendant to refuse dismissal? After all, once charges have been brought, even if dismissed, it can leave a stain on one's reputation. As they say, where do I go to get my reputation back?

Texan99 said...

All a defendant can do, in the most extreme case, is sue for malicious prosecution. Defamation actions usually fail under a sovereign immunity attack, though I guess they're not impossible. Mostly the defendant has to fight it out in the court of public opinion.

Gringo said...

Getting sued for malicious prosecution wouldn't exactly help Mueller's case, would it?

ymarsakar said...

In US, shark eats you. In Russia, you eat shark.

Russians are also pretty good wrestlings with Sambo, Ghenghis style, or Mongolian arts.

Their amazing level is merely considered "average good" back home.

E Hines said...

I put the questions to a Federal judge I know. On the matter of the defendant refusing to let the charges be dropped, he said that if the jury has not been impaneled, the defendant cannot demand the trial go forward.

On the matter of the Russian and trial, he doubts the defendant would appear for the trial: He could be detained as a flight risk prior to and during trial and remained detained if convicted. That would tend to defang the Russian's ability to force things.

Score two for T99.

I agree with Douglas, though: once the charges have been brought, regardless of jury status, the defendant should be able to force the trial. In addition to the reputation question, simply dropping the charges (with prejudice isn't a foregone conclusion) leaves the whole mess hanging over the man's head.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

There's something about when jeopardy attaches, that controls whether the state has irrevocably lost its right to refile the charges and try again. Wiki tells me it attaches when the jury is empaneled, or when the judge starts to hear evidence in a bench trial, or when a defendant lodges an unconditional plea.