Indicted Lawyer Can Get Excuplatory Info Early | Courthouse News Service
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Indicted Lawyer Can Get Excuplatory Info Early

WASHINGTON (CN) - Prosecutors cannot have as much time as they hoped to keep the lid on exculpatory material in the perjury and jury-tampering case against a criminal defense lawyer, a federal judge ruled.

Charles Baum, who has decades of experience as a criminal defense attorney, is facing charges that he influenced or injured an officer or juror, that he tampered with a witness, and that he committed perjury. Two private investigators are also named as defendants in the indictment.

"The charges against the defendants are extremely serious," U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler explained. "Because these charges have been filed against an experienced criminal defense lawyer and his investigators, the case has already received substantial attention in the press."

"Given this context, it cannot be maintained, as the government suggests, that this is a simple or straightforward case in which defendants deserve no more than the traditional period of time allowed in this District Court for the disclosure of Brady/Giglio materials and Jencks Act statements," she added,

In Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court said it is a violation of due process for prosecutors to suppress evidence that could favor the defendant. In Giglio v. United States, the court found that defendants are entitled to a new trial if prosecutors failed to inform the jury that a witness had been promised not to be prosecuted in exchange for his testimony. The Jencks Act requires prosecutors to transcribe the statements of government witnesses after they testify.

Claiming that Baum has already acquired a substantial amount of information from the government, prosecutors requested to keep the materials and statements sealed until no earlier than three days before trial.

Kessler ruled Thursday that three days is not enough, but she found that Baum had also overstepped in seeking production 60 days before trial.

"While the court concludes that defendants are entitled to the materials they seek, the court does not agree that they are entitled to receive these materials as far ahead of trial as they requested in their motion," she wrote.

Baum will get some information 10 days in advance of the April 30 trial, and the rest five days before.

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