Tuesday, April 17, 2018

04172018 - News Article - Indicted Portage mayor responds in latest volley of briefs in federal court

Indicted Portage mayor responds in latest volley of briefs in federal court
NWI Times
April 17, 2018

HAMMOND — Attorneys for indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder say despite the federal government issuing 120 subpoenas, having investigated every aspect of his life and "aggressive employment" of wired surveillance, they still aren't answering questions crucial to his defense.

Late Monday, Jackie M. Bennett Jr., of Indianapolis, filed yet another motion in the public corruption case.

The motion asks the U.S. District Court here to compel prosecutors to turn over information Bennett requested from the assistant district attorney in an April 12 letter regarding the government's review process of Snyder's emails.

Snyder's response is the latest filing in the battle between Snyder's defense team and the U.S. attorney's office over whether two to three dozen emails seized by the government during the investigation are covered by attorney/client privilege. Snyder has claimed the emails they consider deal with work product and/or legal strategy slipped through the prosecution's review process and were unfairly seen by investigators and prosecutors, violating Snyder's Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

Snyder, who was indicted in November 2016, is pleading not guilty to bribery charges related to city towing vendor and public works contracts, along with tax evasion charges related to his private business. His trial is set for June 4.

Snyder has asked the indictments be dropped because of the alleged violation or that the present prosecuting team be dismissed.

Government prosecutors have countered Snyder's claims, saying the emails in question are not attorney/client privileged and, even if they were, they do not unfairly prejudice his case.

In the government's latest filing, also on Monday, prosecutors also accused the defense of a going on a "fishing expedition" in regards to the inquiries.

"The government is wrong; the information sought is directly related to a topic the Court has instructed the parties to brief, and Snyder cannot fairly be expected to brief or explain that issue while the government keeps it conduct in secret," according to the brief filed by Bennett.

The motion goes on to outline the history of the requests and of the battle over the email issue. It requests the court to order prosecutors to answer Snyder's questions by Wednesday.