Federal prosecutors in Miami dropped charges against four Miami police officers accused of beating a career criminal after a key government witness lied on the stand. The Miami Herald reports that prosecutors acknowledged that the bogus testimony destroyed their case. The lies have sparked a new investigation of several star witnesses, including the alleged victim.
The Herald reports that sources it did not identify said a mechanic who lied in court Friday confessed over the weekend that he fabricated evidence at the urging of 12-time convict Alexander Anazco and his father, Asbert.
Stunned defense attorneys lauded the government’s decision. “I’ve never seen it happen in my life,” said David Markus, the attorney for one ex-officer. The defendants were accused of beating, kicking, and burning Anazco with a cigarette nearly seven years ago.
With prosecutors and agents staring in disbelief last week, defense attorney Richard Sharpstein produced documents the mechanic signed in September 2001 seeking permission to visit Anazco in prison. On the forms, the man said the inmate was a friend. “In my 28 years as an attorney, I’ve never had a guy admit on the stand that he committed perjury,” Sharpstein said. “It just doesn’t happen.”