Moussaoui Trial FUBAR

I’ve been trying to figure out what, exactly, to make of this, but honestly, I don’t think there’s anything to be made. Someone screwed up, big time. And not in an accidental sorta way.

The federal judge in the Zacarias Moussaoui case said Monday she may dismiss the death-penalty prosecution of the al-Qaida conspirator after a federal lawyer apparently coached witnesses on upcoming testimony.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said it was "very difficult for this case to go forward" after prosecutors revealed that a lawyer for the Transportation Security Administration had violated her order barring witnesses from any exposure to trial testimony.

Brinkema sent the jury home until Wednesday while she considers her options. She will hold a hearing Tuesday to determine the scope of the problem. The TSA lawyer, Carla Martin, and most of the seven witnesses — past or present employees of the Federal Aviation Administration who received e-mails from Martin — are expected to testify.

Brinkema said she had "never seen such an egregious violation of a rule on witnesses," and prosecutor David Novak agreed that Martin's actions were "horrendously wrong."

Couple of other interesting tidbits about Carla Martin…

She was one of the counsels brought in by the Department of Justice to litigate discovery requests made by the plaintiff’s attorneys in Mariani vs. United Airlines (UAL) et. al. When Mariani’s attorneys subpoenaed evidence from airlines regarding the 9/11 UAL crash, in which her husband died, the Transportation Security Administration, represented by the Department of Justice, stepped in and asserted that the subpoenaed documents might contain Sensitive Security Information, and should therefore be submitted to TSA for review prior to any disclosure, basically using security claims to block the potential discovery of negligence or incompetence.

I also found this old case, in which, pre-9/11, an Iranian passenger sued Lufthansa Airlines for discriminatory practices after he was refused a boarding pass for not allowing his baggage to be subjected to a search that was not required of other passengers. When his attorney requested a copy of the security directive, Carla Martin, described as an FAA department head, “told him that, in similar circumstances, the FAA had consented to the disclosure of a security directive to counsel for a party in litigation. Consent to disclose the security directive to Kalantar or to his attorney would be withheld in this case, however.”

The reason given by Martin was that Kalantar and his attorney were “involved in advocacy groups for Iranians fighting discrimination” and that, in the other cases when security directives had been disclosed, the attorney “[did] not appear to be emotionally or otherwise involved in the issue. And she felt that in those cases there wouldn't be a threat to the information being disseminated.”

Hmm. Sure seems like old Carla Martin likes to pop up just in time to shit all over someone’s legal rights.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus