Charging prosecutors with deliberate misconduct, a federal judge dismissed criminal charges against a former FBI informant accused of serving as a Chinese double agent, says the Los Angeles Times. U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper blasted the U.S. attorney’s office for “conduct unbecoming a prosecutorial agency.” Chinese American businesswoman Katrina Leung had accused the government of unethically exacting a commitment from her former FBI handler that barred him from talking to the defense. The pledge was in an agreement that retired agent James J. Smith reached with the government last year, allowing him to plead guilty to a reduced charge of failing to report a 20-year-long affair with Leung.
“While a certain amount of shading of the truth may be tolerated, even in judicial proceedings, prosecutors are subject to constraints and responsibilities beyond those which apply to other lawyers,” the judge wrote. “In this case, the government decided to make sure that Leung and her lawyers would not have access to Smith. When confronted with what they had done, they engaged in a pattern of stonewalling entirely unbecoming a prosecutorial agency.”