Rare Charge Against Federal Prosecutor Ends In Acquittal


In a rebuke to the U.S. Justice Department, a Detroit federal jury yesterday found ex-federal prosecutor Richard Convertino and co-defendant Harry “Ray” Smith not guilty of obstruction of justice and other charges related to Convertino’s prosecution of a terror trial in 2003, the Detroit News reports. “It’s a just result of a politically motivated prosecution that never should have been brought,” Convertino said. “Somebody must be held accountable for this.”

Convertino has maintained the terrorism case was solid, but the Justice Department retaliated against him for testifying before a congressional committee in 2003 without departmental approval. Defense attorney William Sullivan said it’s unprecedented for the Justice Department to charge a federal prosecutor criminally for a judgment call. “The government just never made its case, and in that sense it’s not surprising the jury came back quickly with a not guilty verdict,” said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Wayne State University. “The claim was overzealousness by Convertino, but was the government itself overzealous in prosecuting Convertino and Smith?”

Link: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071101/METRO/711010378

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