Misconduct Alleged in Torture Case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – New evidence “casts grave doubt” about the case against a man accused of sexually abusing and torturing a mentally disabled woman, and accused in a murder-for-hire plot to kill the woman and prosecuting attorney, according to the man’s attorney.

     In a motion in Federal Court, Bradley Cook’s attorney accused prosecutors of using deceptive jailhouse informants and hiding exculpatory information.
     The attorney, Carter Collins Law, with Law & Schriener, seeks to reopen Cook’s detention hearing.
     A magistrate court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals order Cook to be detained pending trial on the sexual abuse and torture charges due to his history of abusing women and the murder-for-hire plot.
     But Cook’s claims that since the last detention hearing, “the government has periodically disclosed evidence, in the form of 302 statements, recorded phone calls, letters, medical records, and a covert audio recording of a body wire worn by one of its confidential informants, which individually, and in total, cast grave doubts on its original charges against Mr. Cook, as well as those new charges against him in the superseding indictment obtained in March 2011. This new information was not known to Mr. Cook at the time of the detention hearing. In fact, much of the new information is a result of the government’s continued investigation, well after this case was originally presented to the grand jury in September 2010, to find evidence to bolster its dubious sex trafficking charges against Mr. Cook.
     “This pattern of making allegations first and investigating later was repeated when the government presented its version of the ‘murder-for-hire’ plot to the Eighth Circuit, and later to the grand jury, despite having in its possession several highly compelling pieces of exculpatory evidence regarding that alleged plot. After the Eighth Circuit appeal concluded, the government sought to find support for its murder-for-hire allegations, and ultimately lit upon several jailhouse informants. These informants had not come forward during the original investigation into the alleged ‘murder-for-hire’ plot, yet now claim intimate knowledge of its existence. In addition, these informants have apparently been outspoken in expressing their intentions to use their involvement in Mr. Cook’s case to their own advantage. Indeed, they have been said to have spread the word that anyone who is interested in a reduced sentence can be gotten on board Mr. Cook’s case.
     “The newly discovered evidence reveals the weakness of the government’s case to detain Mr. Cook, based squarely upon the weakness of its underlying charges, both in the original indictment and in the superseding indictment.”
     Cook, of Kirkwood in suburban St. Louis, was indicted in September 2010 with four other men on charges involving the alleged sexual abuse and torture of the woman. He was ordered detained until trial and when he appealed his detainment, prosecutors raised the murder-for-hire allegations, claiming that Cook planned to have the prosecutor and victim killed.
     Two of the men with whom Cook was indicted have pleaded guilty, and the wife of the alleged ringleader has been added to the list of defendants.

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