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Judge denies rep's request for all government evidence



Published: Wed, January 16, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



CLEVELAND -- A federal judge has denied U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr.'s request for all the evidence he thinks the government has against him.

In an order filed late Monday, U.S. District Judge Lesley Brooks Wells broke Traficant's latest request for evidence into several parts. She said his motion asks for materials the government already turned over to him, or asks for evidence he is not entitled to or asks for evidence he is not entitled to this far from his Feb. 4 racketeering trial.

The congressman had asked for details of the government's behavior regarding each cooperating witness, including threats of prosecution, individual investigations, settlement agreements, plea agreements, draft plea agreements and letters of cooperation. He also wanted any surveillance tapes, whether or not they would be used at trial, and any requests for electronic surveillance.

Judge's response: The judge said prosecutors have met their discovery obligations and he is not entitled to anything more beyond what is required.

Judge Wells said Traficant hasn't shown that the government failed to produce the evidence required to be turned over at this time. The government has assured the judge that witness statements, for example, will be provided shortly before each witness testifies, as required by law.

The judge denied as premature Traficant's motion to produce some materials, such as information that could be used to impeach witnesses' testimony, and said he can revisit the matter if the government fails to give him the evidence at the appropriate time.




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