The US Attorneys Office keeps lining up convictions like bowling pins...
And Mr. Markus and his wife Mona Markus keep knocking them down like bowler Don Carter did in Miami in the 1960s and 70s.
The latest prosecution derailed is a story that first broke a few years ago when it was learned that the US Attorneys used a cooperating defendant who had also signed a Joint Defense Agreement to infiltrate and spy on defendants and their attorneys as they prepared for trial.
We are just guessing here, but the disclosure of the use of the snitch to spy on the defense probably went something like this- a thumb drive with 15,000 pages of bank statements which were shuffled several times before being scanned and disclosed to the defense. And around page 7,890 was a typewritten paragraph "The government used one of the defendants as a cooperator during the time he was part of the joint defense agreement. But we promise he did not tell us anything we did not already know except that one defense attorney is apparently a vegan."
The case, an insidious sweepstakes fraud fiasco, had been awaiting sentencing for over a year when last Friday Judge Gayles threw out the convictions and ordered a new trial.
Jay Weaver of El Herald has the story here, where he quoted Judge Gayles as saying the prosecutors "knowingly invaded the defense camp, which is improper."
Rumpole doesn't really like JDAs. We find most of the defense attorney meetings go something like this:
"Who ordered the California roll with extra avocado? I ordered four of the tuna sushi with brown rice, anybody see those?"
But apparently in this case, there was some real strategy discussed which the snitch told the AUSAs about and Gayles had had enough. Good for Judge Gayles, and meanwhile, in an office on top of a garage in downtown Miami, another notch was etched on the "victory wall" of the Markus firm. Well done. Well done indeed.