The evidentiary hearing regarding the Motion for New Trial in the Reese case continued with FBI Special Agent Gary Brotan. Mr. Brotan stated he has been an FBI agent for approximately 27 years.
Defense Attorney Robert Gorence started off the questioning, but first pointed out that he and S/A Brotan had a professional relationship and had worked cases together, including corruption cases. S/A Brotan agreed. Mr. Gorence stated that he had not had contact with S/A Brotan since 2000, and he agreed.
S/A Brotan has been stationed in Las Cruces since February 1995.
Mr. Gorence asked if he was tasked with supervising SW border corruption, and he replied no, not currently. when asked if he had in the past, S/A Brotan replied that he was, from 1995 through 2009 investigating corruption on the SW border. However, S/A Brotan was than put on the Larry Lujan case, which took up all of his time.
Mr. Gorence asked him if prior to 2009 if he was aware of criminal conclusions regarding law enforcement including Detective Batts. S/A Brotan replied yes. He explained that the information first surfaced in 2004. When asked if the information was credible, S/A Brotan also replied yes.
In response to questions, S/A Brotan explained that they tried to substantiate the claims, and that Detective Batts was the subject or target of an investigation. S/A Brotan was pulled off the investigation in 2009 and he didn’t know if the investigation was still ongoing. He explained that cases involving corruption are handled on a need to know basis.
Mr. Gorence pointed out that there are priorities in investigations and that terrorism is on the top of the list, and that corruption in law enforcement is in the top three categories of priorities and that this was true throughout the Reese trial.
Mr. Gorence pointed out that form 2004 through 2009 there was involvement that included Detective Allen Batts that include an active participation in drug smuggling, stealing drugs proceeds intended for forfeiture and smuggling of illegal aliens. S/A Brotan agreed this was true.
Mr. Gorence pointed out that since this was a priority investigation, the FBI would have used all the techniques they could whenever they could to investigate the matter. Mr. Gorence then asked a series of questions to determine what kinds of techniques the FBI used.
Obtain records, such as telephone, cell, and bank records? Yes.
Was a CI (confidential informant) used? Yes.
Did the CI target Detective Batts? Yes.
Was the CI wired and recorded? Yes.
Did they compartmentalize so the subject would not become aware? Yes.
Is is difficult to accomplish this because of law enforcement in a small county?
AUSA Armijo objected and indicated these were leading questions. Judge Brack indicated that the witness was not hostile.
Mr. Gorence asked S/A Brotan how difficult it is to keep an investigation like this secret in a small county. He replied it is very difficult.
When Mr. Gorence asked how would law enforcement find out that they were a target, AUSA Armijo objected.
Mr. Gorence pressed on about the law enforcement techniques used as to Detective Batts and asked him about bank records. S/A Brotan replied he wasn’t sure.
Toll records? Yes.
When asked if he had looked at the file since 2009, he stated no, and that he had not refreshed his memory.
Mr. Gorence asked if the funds held by the Luna County Sheriff’s office are held in Deming, and if they had to get a subpoena to get the records, he replied, yes.
Mr. Gorence pointed out that Deming in a very small town, and bank officials….
AUSA Armijo objected and indicated it called for speculation.
Mr. Gorence asked another question about serving a subpoena in a small town. It poses a problems to keep it quiet.
When asked how many agents were involved in investigating allegations of corruption in Luna, S/A Brotan replied, himself, S/A Joe Acosta, and a few others part time.
Mr. Gorence asked him if Detective Batts called the F.B.I. S/A Brotan stated yes, in May 2008 Det. Batts called him. When asked if S/A Brotan ever worked with Det. Batts before in Luna County, he replied that he had.
In further questions, S/A Brotan explained this call was not recorded. Det. Batts had left a message for him to call him so he could provide information about some potential criminal activity. S/A Brotan admitted that during the phone call Det. Batts indicated that he (Batts) had a good reputation over the past 20 years.
S/A Brotan was asked if this was stated in the context of Batts making allegations about other people being “dirty”. AUSA Armijo objected, and Judge asked Mr. Gorence to rephrase.
When asked who the information pertained to that Det. Batts was calling about, S/A Brotan replied the information was about anther officer in Luna County.
When asked if Dep. Batts professed…. AUSA Armijo jumped in and objected again based on speculation. The Judge asked the FBI agent to explain what happened.
S/A Brotan related that Det. Batts indicated that something had happened a few days earlier. When asked how long the phone call lasted, S/A Brotan stated about 5 minutes. When asked if Det. Batts knew that there was an ongoing corruption investigation, S/A Brotan replied no, not apparently.
Mr. Gorence asked when Det. Batts reported the other person, how did Batts try to distance himself from what he was reporting. S/A Brotan indicated that Det. Batts said he had no involvement in what he was reporting.
When asked if there was a pending investigation, S/A Brotan stated he didn’t know. When asked why there wasn’t a prosecution, S/A Brotan didn’t know why.
Mr. Gorence asked if the anyone in the Luna County Sheriff’s Office had been tipped off. AUSA Armijo objected and wanted to know the relevance. Mr. Gorence explained to the judge that is a small place, tip one off you tip them all off.
Mr. Gorence continued and asked if there was any reason to believe the subject targeted and Det Bats had been tipped off? S/A Brotan stated not to his knowledge. He agreed that his knowledge ceased in 2009. S/A Brotan explained that Joe Acosta is the current investigator on the case.
Mr. Gorence paused, and informed the judge that the defense did not know about S/A Acosta that they the defense might have to ask for a continuance since they didn’t issue a subpoena for S/A Acosta, and that he would have to discuss it with his colleagues. He explained that S/A Acosta takes this case from 2009 up through the Reese trial.
Defense attorney Jason Bowles took over questioning and asked for clarification on the investigation from 2004 through 2009 into Detective Batts. He pointed out that Detective Acosta and other part time knew about the case and wanted to know who else. S/A Brotan recalled meeteing with an AUSA or branch chief in Las Cruces.
When asked if this was the public corruption contact he replied it was. He couldn’t recall the names, but there were two females in Las Cruces. When asked if one of them was Teresa Raymond, he replied yes. And when asked if the other was Kelly Burnham, he replied yes, long ago. When he was asked if any of the branch chiefs were involved, he indicated no, no contact with them.
When asked if Det. Batts was not the only target, he confirmed that Det. Batts was not the only target.
S/A Brotan did not recall specific records, and when asked about tax records he replied no. S/A Brotan stated it was possible about bank records but he didn’t request.
Mr. Bowles asked if any of the subjects, including Det. Batts, were interviewed during 2004-2009. He replied they were not, and he could not recall specifically if they conducted a surveillance of Det. Batts.
When asked if he knew about a phone call from Det. Batts to the FBI in 2012, he didn’t know about it. S/A Brotan explained that after the Lujan case he was transferred and is working in intel in El Paso.
AUSA Armijo asked if any charges were filed against the targets. S/A Brotan stated not as far as he knows.
AUSA Armijo asked if as part of the investigation were charges substantial enough to submit charges, and he replied no.
There was some discussion about electronic communication differing from 302, testimony, and an administrative document.
AUSA Armijo asked if when he talked to Det. Batts if he ever told him that Batts or others were the targets of an investigation. S/A Brotan said no.
Questioning of S/A Brotan finished up at 10:45 a.m.
The AUSAs and the defense attorney had a brief meeting at the Judge’s bench. Afterwards, Judge Brack announced that another development had occurred and that they would break early for lunch with court reconvening at 12:30 p.m.
By 8:30 a.m. there wasn’t a single seat left in today’s hearing in the public viewing section. Rick and Ryin Reese were seated at the defense table, again in green prison garb, and again in full iron chains. Terri Reese was seated there also, but dressed in street clothes since she is still free on bond.
Among persons sitting in the viewing section were H.S.I. S/A Eddie Pacheco as well as Detective Allen Batts from the Luna County Sheriff’s Office. Detective Batts is at the center of the controversy that underlies today’s evidentiary hearing for the Motion for New Trial. It is not known if Detective Batts had retained private counsel for today’s hearing. If he had private counsel, it was either not mentioned or not heard. As reported before, acoustics can be pretty bad in the courtroom and at times not all words can be heard.
The defense attorney, the prosecutors and the Judge were nowhere to be seen at 8:30 a.m. They were all in a private meeting in the Judge’s chambers until 8:36 a.m.
Judge Brack announced on his return that four defense attorney were present representing the defendants: Robert Gorence representing Rick Reese, Jason Bowles representing Ryin Reese, and Brad Hall and Pete Dominici Jr representing Terri Reese. Present on behalf of the government was the Branch Chief Assistant US Attorney’s Office (AUSA) Maria Armijo, AUSA Aaron Jordan, and the New Mexico US Attorney, Kenneth Gonzalez.
Some of you may recall that Kenneth J. Gonzalez is the one who signed the Reese indictment in August 2011, and who was nominated in November 2012 by President Obama to a federal district court judgeship in New Mexico. Mr. Gonzalez’ biography can be reviewed here: http://www.justice.gov/usao/biographies/gonzalez.html
Judge Robert Brack explained that the reason we were present today was to hear two issues, a Motion for New Trial, and afterwards, to return to the December 18th 2012 Motion for Release of Rick and Ryin Reese.
US Attorney Ken Gonzalez had requested to speak to the Judge on behalf of the government and started off the morning’s proceedings. Mr. Gonzalez explained that the reason he wanted to address the court related to the Judge’s Order signed January 25, 2013 (that was the motion that permitted the public to attend this hearing). Mr. Gonzalez stated the government had received his Order regarding today’s hearing. He indicated that the Court (the judge) seemed troubled by the Department of Justice and the U.S. position.
Judge Brack responded that he has been told numerous times not to agree to closed hearings. Judge Brack explained that he assumes that sometime there are exceptions and he asked Mr. Gonzalez to shed some light on those exceptions.
Mr. Gonzalez explained that the government didn’t do a good job on pleading their point in this matter, and that there is authority to keep the hearing sealed (secret) in a body of Federal law. One thing he mention was C.F.R. § 50.9. More can be read on that here: http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm00025.htm. Mr. Gonzalez went on to explain that the Department of Justice foresees few cases that warrant closing hearings to the public. He explained that the government should take the position to close proceedings at times. He explained it is in the best interest to have hearings open, but there are times when the US Attorney’s office should move to close hearings when it is in the best interest of the government. One of the examples he gave was when the safety of the audience is an issue. Another example is when there is an ongoing investigation and public proceedings might jeopardize an ongoing investigation. Other examples were mentioned.
Mr. Gonzalez explained that his office makes the judgment when it is in the best interest to close a proceeding, and that there are protocols that need to be followed. Mr. Gonzalez explained his office got approval to close the hearing. Mr. Gonzalez concluded by indicating he had reviewed the protocol followed in this case. He explained that rarely this is done, but the number of circumstances justifies closure in this hearing.
No comment from the judge was audible in the public viewing area.
Mr. Gorence informed the judge he was ready to plea evidence in this case and pointed out that the witness was in the courtroom. The judge asked Detective Batts and FBI S/A Brotan (sp?) to leave the room. Three persons left the room. S/A Eddie Pacheco remained in the courtroom.
AUSA Richard Williams was sworn in by Judge Brack. The initial comments by AUSA Armijo and Mr. Gorence were not audible.
In response to direct examination by Mr. Gorence, Mr. Richard Williams explained that he has been an Assistant US Attorney since 2001, and has been a Special Assistant AUSA since 2002 and has been assigned to the Las Cruces branch in New Mexico the entire time. He was asked if he had been assigned cases involving corruption involving law enforcement. Mr. Williams could not recall being assigned any cases, but hadn’t thought about it. When he was asked about an initiative involving the southwest border since 2008, he stated he was aware of it and was involved in that effort. He was asked if there was an ongoing investigation into a Luna County Deputy and he responded yes. In response to questions, he explained he didn’t recall when he first became aware of it. He explained he had been assigned the file in 2012, and prior to that the file was not in his office, it was in a previous supervisor’s office.
When asked if he suspected ongoing corruption in Luna County since 2008, he replied yes. He didn’t recall when, but after he became a supervisor and the file reassigned. Mr. Gonzalez indicated he had not read the entire file but had discussed it with the previous AUSA and had become more familiar with the file. He was asked if he was familiar with the targets or subjects of the investigation, and he responded he was. He was asked if those targets included Luna County law enforcement he responded yes. He was asked if that included Detective Allen Batts, and he responded yes. He could not recall when he became aware of Detective Batts. When asked if Batts was a subject or a target of the Department of Justice, he explained that he didn’t make that assessment. He was asked if Detective Batts was considered a witness, and he said no.
Mr. Gorence explained that there are fine differences between the words; a subject is suspected of a criminal act, and a target indicates there is probable cause. Mr. Williams agreed with him, however indicated he was not sure if those definitions were in the US Attorney’s manual.
Mr. Williams was asked if the investigation in Luna County commenced in 2004. Mr. Williams stated no, that it commenced in 2002. Mr. Gorence asked him if the sealed portion started in 2004, and also wanted to know if information from 2002 including information concerning Detective Batts. Mr. Williams replied not to his knowledge, and that the information on Batts was included after the file was opened, and that started in 2004.
Mr. Gorence initiated a question about Det. Batts to determine if he was the subject of or a target of the investigation and wanted to know what the allegations where. AUSA Armijo objected because of the audience present. Mr. Gorence explained to the judge that he had received the detailed reports, and explained there were portions involving a confidential informant that were blacked out. Mr. Gorence wanted to know if those sections involved tax evasion or what, because the what part dictates the consequences of criminal activity. He argued that narcotics and guns go directly to the fact that Det. Batts could have had significant penalties. He further pointed out that he needs to show this, and that the Chief of the Criminal Division already told everyone in the courtroom (at the last hearing).
The Judge instructed the witness, Mr. Williams, to answer in generic terms, and gave the example of tax evasion or public corruption.
Mr. Williams recalled that the initial allegations were in 2003 and involved the misappropriation of assets that belonged to a criminal defendant and another person.
Mr. Gorence clarified this by stating that allegedly Detective Batts had stolen money from a drug dealer, and he and others took assets from a criminal defendant and another person. Mr. Williams indicated it was improper.
Mr. Gorence stated a drug dealer, and AUSA Armijo objected stating that it would identify specific people.
Mr. Gorence argued to the judge that this occurred in 2003-2004, which is 9-10 years ago. He explained that obviously it is not time-barred via the statute of limitations on racketeering. He mentioned this is ludicrous that there are rumors of [law enforcement] ripping off drug dealers, which is a very serious charge with very serious penalties if prosecuted. Mr. Gorence indicated this would be motive for Det. Batts to tailor his testimony.
Judge Brack overruled the objection and ordered the witness to proceed without naming names.
Mr. Gorence pressed on and asked if the initial allegations dealt with stealing drugs, which then proceeded to drug trafficking, and that Det. Batts and others took them without following proper procedures. Mr. Williams agreed.
Mr. Gorence asked if money was taken that should have been subjected to federal forfeiture and they pocketed it? Mr. Williams agreed except corrected Mr. Gorence by indicating it was a state case. When he was asked if Det. Batts was actively moving drugs in the state, Mr. Williams couldn’t recall the specifics.
Mr. Gorence then asked if it also included items not logged into evidence, and Mr. Williams agreed yes, that was the essence of it all.
Mr. Gorence moved on to different allegations in 2005. Mr. Williams could not recall the date, but agreed there were other allegations.
Mr. Gorence asked if there were allegations that Det. Batts was actively engaged in drug trafficking in Mexico, and AUSA Williams stated yes, direct involvement.
Mr. Gorence asked if there were allegations in Det. Batts’ file that he was actively involved in assisting < not heard >, and Mr. Williams responded yes, perhaps two.
Mr. Gorence cited multiple sources and names indicating that they were ripping off drug dealers, smuggling aliens and smuggling drugs, and Mr. Williams agreed.
Mr. Gorence moved on the 2007, and again there were multiple sources naming the same kind of activity [going on in Luna County] and did he recall any allegations on Det. Allen Batts in 2007. He couldn’t recall the specifics.
Mr. Gorence moved on to ask about the time period when Mr. Williams was the supervisor, and asked him if Det. Batts initiated a phone call to the FBI. Mr. Williams replied that he had, and when Mr. Gorence asked him to tell about the call, AUSA Armijo objected and stated it would be hearsay.
Mr. Gorence explained to the judge that Mr. Williams had knowledge, which has to do with the trial team, which goes to show that Det. Batts knew that there was an investigation. He explained the point is there is collective knowledge in the AUSA office and whether Batts knew he was under investigation. The judge overruled Ms. Armijo’s objection.
Mr. Williams explained he first heard about the call after closing arguments in the Reese case. He got involved after receiving information on the Reese case and then requested information from the FBI. There were numerous print outs related to this call, since 2008.
When Mr. Gorence asked who was the AUSA assigned from August 2011 to July 2012 (the time from the arrest of the Reese’s until the conclusion of the trial), Mr. Williams responded AUSA Teresa Raymond. Mr. Williams explained Teresa Raymond left in approximately 2010. After that, the file involving the corruption investigation in Luna County was not reassigned.
Mr. Gorence asked who the primary contact with the FBI was and he admitted he was. He asked if the corruption file was closed and he said no, and when asked if the investigation [into corruption in Luna County] is still ongoing, he responded that it is. Mr. Gorence asked if Mr. Williams is now spearheading the investigation and he stated that he is, but that the FBI doesn’t contact him frequently.
Mr. Gorence asked him to describe the elements of an ongoing investigation. When asked if the Department of Justice believes there is a viable criminal offense, he replied yes. When he was asked if there were any illegal impediments such as statutes of limitations he agreed there were not. He was asked if federal resources were still being spent, he admitted they are. When asked if that included the time during trial, he didn’t know.
Mr. Gorence asked if Mr. Williams was aware that Det. Batts made a phone call to FBI S/A Brogan. He explained he learned that in August 2012.
Mr. Gorence asked him if Mr. Williams supervised the Reese case, and he stated that AUSA Randy Castellano was the supervisor for AUSA Armijo and AUSA Jordan.
Mr. Gorence asked a question about a cross-memo that had been filed, and wanted to know if Mr. Williams knew about it before the indictment in the Reese case.
AUSA Armijo objected and claimed this information was beyond the scope of the hearing. Mr. Gorence began to explain the relevance and the judge interrupted with objection overruled.
Mr. Gorence returned to Mr. Williams and asked him if he would have read the subject cross memo prior to the Reese indictment in 2011. He replied yes. When asked if this memo included information on Det. Batts, he indicated it did. Mr. Gorence wanted to know how Mr. Williams failed to make the connection about the allegations of Det. Batts being corrupt and that Batts was either a subject of or target of an investigation. Mr. Williams started to answer that at the time of screening the case…. but at this point the Judge wanted to ask a question for clarification.
Judge Brack wanted to know if just screening was involved or was there a decision process going on to indict. Mr. Williams indicated that he told the Las Cruces US Attorney’s office that there may be issues with Det. Batts.
On questioning, it was learned that Mr. Williams had been alerted about the issues involving Det. Batts prior to the Reese indictment, and prior to July 2011. He explained that he recognized the name and that it needed to be looked into further. When asked if he knew about the potential Giglio impact prior to the Reese indictment, he stated he did. Mr. Gorence asked him if he ever expressed his concerns to anyone long before closing arguments were made in the Reese case. Mr. Williams replied that he informed the management team in Las Cruces, Mr. Randy Castellano and Mr. Alfred Perez. He indicated that no memos were written.
When he was asked what happened prior to the indictment, he indicated he was not aware of any action taken. [This is with regards to the information on Det. Batts and the impact on the Reese case.] When Mr. Williams was asked how it was resolved in the office to go to the Grand Jury, Mr. Williams stated he didn’t know Det. Batts was going to be called as a witness in the case.
Mr. Gorence asked him if he knew Det. Batts significance in the Reese case, and he stated no.
Mr. Williams explained that prior to the indictment, he didn’t recall if there was closure in the Batts investigation. He was asked if he had any conversation with AUSA Castellano about a potential Giglio issue he couldn’t recall.
He did recall an email later on that related to Det. Batts, which was before the trial, in approximately May 2012. The FBI had contacted Mr. Williams office with concerns about Detective Batts being on the SW Border Task Force.
Mr. Gorence reiterated that the FBI contacted him with their concerns about Det. Batts being on the drug task force in Deming, and then asked what was done. Mr. Williams indicated nothing. He sent the email on to the Las Cruces office. When asked if that included AUSA Armijo and AUSA Jordan, he replied no.
Mr. Gorence pressed on that in May 2012, the FBI was concerned about Det. Batts but he still hadn’t been charged, and that the FBI was concerned about trusting him to be on the drug task force. Mr. Williams indicated that he has never been removed from the drug task force.
When Mr. Gorence asked if there were any other Giglio issues, they wound up approaching the bench. The conversation between the Judge, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys cannot be overheard.
Mr. Gorence returned to the email received in 2012. He wanted to know if between the time the FBI sent the email and the time it was sent to supervisors if he wrote a memo regarding a call from FBI agent Acosta, and if the only document was his email to take Batts off [the task force]. Mr. Williams indicated they were concerned.
Mr. Gorence wanted to know if Mr. Williams did anything with this information just two months before trail and if there were any follow-up reports about the potential Giglio issues with Det. Batts and reminded him of the fidelity requirements of law enforcement officers. Mr. Williams indicated not to his knowledge.
Mr. Gorence moved on and asked him if he was aware that H.S.I. S/A Eddie Pacheco utilized Detective Batts to interview defense witnesses. Mr. Gorence further indicated that Detective Batts went beyond the role of being a witness and became part of the investigation of defense witnesses. Mr. Williams indicated that he learned that after trial.
Mr. Gorence asked him if he was aware that Detective Batts called the F.B.I. and that he was protesting his innocence in another subject matter, where a defendant was apprehended and questioned about another Luna County officer, and that he knew about the involvement of another Luna County officer. Mr. Williams stated he was not aware of that.
Next, Jason Bowles asked questions to clarify AUSA Williams’ testimony.
When asked if he took over in 2008, he stated yes. He was asked who was the head of the Las Cruces office and he replied Greg <last name not heard clearly, possibly Waldron> and that Ms. Armijo was branch chief before Mr. Waldron. He took over in 2008 before he became the supervisor he was branch chief. He responded that Ms. Armijo was the branch chief in 2005.
When asked if the file was opened on Batts in 2004, he replied no in 2002, and that yes it was out of the Las Cruces office.
Mr. Bowles asked if he reported any development in the Batts case while the case was handled by AUSA Teresa Raymond. Answer not heard.
Mr. Bowles asked if at branch meetings if they ever talked about significant cases? Mr. Williams replied yes.
Mr. Bowles asked if they ever discussed Det. Batts, and he stated that yes, there were some discussion but he didn’t recall the specifics.
Mr. Bowles asked if Mr. Williams prior to trial ever talk to AUSA Armijo (no) or AUSA Jordan (no), and he replied yes, he spoke to both of them after trial.
Mr. Bowles questioned him about when the FBI contacted him did he sent the FBI email before trial and he responded he did. When asked if anything was going about Det. Batts, he responded that he didn’t do anything.
Mr. Williams explained that after closing arguments he saw Det. Batts’ name and requested documents from the F.B.I.
Mr. Bowles stated that the defense didn’t have this information for months, four months. AUSA Armijo objected and that that this hearing is supposed to be about Det. Batts.
Mr. Bowles pressed on about the chain of command and asked if there was any assessment to come to a decision and if so who specifically. Mr. Williams mentioned the branch chief in Las Cruces, Alfred Perez, the criminal chief, Mr. Tierney, a Mr. Steve Yarbrough, and Sasha Siemel, who is the ethics advisor and in the professional responsibility office.
Mr. Bowles asked about procedures in the office. Sasha Seimel had information about the investigation generally but didn’t know specifics about Batts, it was another individual.
When Mr. Bowles asked if Mr. [Ken] Gonzalez know about this before trial, he replied that Mr. Gonzalez knew about someone else, but not about Mr. Batts.
Mr. Williams indicated he raised the issue generally in Las Cruces with the supervisor in the AUSA office, Mr. Castellano and Mr. Perez, although he became the branch chief, it could have been before he became the chief.
Mr. Bowles pointed out that Mr. Castellano was present in the courtroom during trial.
Mr. Bowles asked is Mr. Williams and Mr. Castellano had any discussions during trial about Detective Batts. He replied no, and when asked what about anyone else, he replied no also.
Mr. Bowles asked if he knew the scope of the case before trial. Mr. Williams remembered the cross file, but read it one year before, and stated he didn’t know Det. Batts was going to be a witness in the Reese case.
Mr. Bowles stated the AUSA assigned the case in 2002, which was opened by Mark Antonio (phonetic) to Burnett.
(This is believed to be AUSA Paula Burnett, who’s stepped down as Chief of the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s office in September 2012 after her husband was indicted for leaking information to the former Chief of Police Vega, who was indicted in the Columbus case.)
From 2010 to 2012, the case file [the investigation into corruption in law enforcement in Luna County] was unassigned, and Mr. Williams explained that he assigned the Luna County corruption case to himself in 2012.
Mr. Bowles asked him if there was every any talk about a conflict in who was assigned that file. He replied no. Mr. Bowles asked about the procedures involved if there was a conflict for a prosecutor. Mr. Williams indicated if there are recusal questions that they are referred to Sasha Seimel. When asked if this procedure was followed, he replied it wasn’t identified. When Mr. Williams was asked who would identify the conflict, and if there was any one person who had the knowledge, he replied he didn’t know he [Det. Batts] was going to be called as a witness.
Judge Brack interjected a question of his own and asked if everyone in the office has an opportunity to read the cross files. Mr. Williams stated the supervisors do. When Judge Brack asked about the list of witnesses, Mr. Williams answered that at that time there was no process, and that he was thinking of making a procedure.
In response to Mr. Bowles question about what process is involved to screen potential indictments and who is involved, Mr. Williams explained that supervisors are involved, and sometimes the AUSA team. He did not recall discussing this with AUSA’s Luvarchik (sp? phonetic), Armijo or Jordan.
Mr. Bowles asked if anyone else was in the loop that knew that Det. Batts was going to be a witness in the Reese case that also knew about the Det. Batts corruption investigation. Mr. Williams replied Abernathy and Castellano knew about the May 2012 phone call from the FBI expressing their concerns. When Mr. Williams was asked if Mr. Castellano was a big lawyer in this case, he stated yes. However, he also stated he didn’t know if Mr. Castellano read the email from the FBI.
Next up to ask questions was AUSA Maria Armijo.
Ms. Armijo asked Mr. Williams about the May 2012 email and asked if Ms. Armijo and Mr. Jordan were in line to receive that email. He replied no.
Ms. Armijo returned to when the corruption file was originally opened and asked if Det. Batts was included at the 2002 onset. Mr. Williams stated not as far as he can tell.
Ms. Armijo asked if Mr.Williams related his concerns about the trial. He indicated Paula Burnett, the Criminal Chief possibly in 2012, and he didn’t recall when Mr. Tierney took over. And that Greg Waldron (sp?) was involved in the case at the time Ms. Burnett was involved.
Ms. Armijo asked if there was a system in the US Attorney’s office where a person is listed as a suspect. Mr. Williams responded there is and that Det. Batts name was not in the system, which is known as LION.
Ms. Armijo asked if as of today if the FBI has decided to charge Detective Batts on those or any other incidents. He replied no, not to his knowledge.
Ms. Armijo asked if there had been any new criminal acts/incidents since 2008 involving Det. Batts. Mr. Williams indicated not to his knowledge, and that his only contacts since 2008 was the May 2012 email.
In winding up, Ms. Armijo asked if there is a procedure when an AUSA does a Giglio check. Mr. Williams stated yes. This essentially involved a request to the agency to search for impeachment material from the agency the witness works for. Ms. Armijo also asked if it was a practice or a procedure (answer not heard), and asked if this was done on Det. Batts regarding the Reese case. Mr. Williams indicated that the agency sent back that it was “clean”.
Mr. Gorence asked for clarification of agency and asked if that was the Luna County Sheriff’s Office. Yes. And then asked where Det. Allen Batts is employed – the Luna County Sheriffs Office.
After a break, Mr. Gorence resumed questioning under redirect. Mr. Gorence asked if the Giglio check was mandated or if just a practice. Mr. Gorence pointed out that Giglio is the case name referring to a Constitutional principal to turn over all information to defendants. Mr. Williams replied yes. Mr. Gorence pointed out that this isn’t practice this in mandated by the Constitution. Mr. Williams stated his recollection is they send letters to specific agencies. Mr. Gorence asked again if this practice is Constitutionally mandated as part of due process and asked if the constitution requires it. Mr. Williams replied no the constitution doesn’t require it. Mr. Gorence pointed to a case where there was a 517 page report written by a judge that required it, and Mr. Williams stated he had not read the entire report.
Mr. Gorence reminded Mr. Williams about the Senator Ted Stevens case that resulted in the US Attorney Eric Holder mandating that every federal prosecutor would receive training. Mr. Gorence asked if all US attorneys and AUSAs received training, and he replied they did.
[The Senator Ted Stevens case involved a case where prosecutors repeatedly hid evidence from the defense that could have exonerated Senator Stevens.]
Mr. Gorence asked Mr. Williams again if the allegations from 2004 thru 2008 involved drugs smuggling, illegal alien smuggling, and ripping off drug dealers, and he replied they did.
Mr. Gorence asked if there were any new allegations when he received a telephone call and asked if that is what triggered the 2012 call. He didn’t recall. When Mr. Gorence pointed out that he hadn’t heard anything since 2008 and then they called after four years, and asked if they indicated why they were calling. Mr. Wlliams couldn’t recall. When asked about the task force, Mr. Williams stated he doesn’t know that he has been placed on the drug task force.
Ms. Armijo asked Mr. Williams if it was possible that the F.B.I. called him and told him that Det. Batts was going to be put on the drug task force. Mr. Williams stated it is possible, but he doesn’t remember.
Ms. Armijo asked a question about Giglio procedures, and Mr. Williams indicated first they speak to the witness, then there is AUSA followup, and then analysis is done in the office. When asked if there was any other method, he responded they just send out the request to the agency.
Mr. Gore objected and the Judge asked her to rephrase.
Ms. Armijo asked what is another method, and he replied they contact the agency. When asked if that happened in this case, he replied yes.
Ms. Armijo asked if all AUSAs are made aware of public corruption cases. Mr. Williams stated no, that because of the nature of the cases, information is disseminated on a need to know basis only, and that those cases are compartmentalized.
AUSA Richard Williams was excused as a witness.
The next witness was an FBI agent. See next report.
An alliance of several counties was formed about a year ago to discuss and formulate ideas on how to best address issues that are impacting all southwestern New Mexico counties. This alliance will be meeting on Wednesday, January 30.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
WHERE: 1400 Highway 180 East (turn right at Burger King)
WHAT: SW County Commission Alliance (SWCCA) meeting at the Grant County Commission Chambers
SPEAKER: Jess Carey will be speaking about wolves in Catron County.
They are expecting a large turn0ut of people who want wolves everywhere. They are asking for a more balanced input by having voices from both sides of the issue be presented.
Members are urged to attend.
As indicated in the last report, the defense attorneys had filed a Motion for New Trial in the Reese case. The government responded by requesting the Motion for New Trial be sealed. The defense requested it be unsealed, and the government filed its objection by filing an opposition to the unsealing.
The bottom line – We just got word that this afternoon defense attorneys learned that Judge Brack has decided that the hearing will not be sealed.
THE HEARING WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
The hearing will be held on January 28th, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Brack’s courtroom (4th floor) in Las Cruces.
The proceedings will likely start out as an evidentiary hearing so the defense can present the reasons supporting the Motion for New Trial, and the government’s objections to same. It is not known if the Judge will make his decision regarding this matter on Monday.
Friends and supporters are urged to show the family support by attending this hearing.
http://www.guns.com/2013/01/19/new-mexico-sheriffs-say-they-stand-by-the-second-amendment-in-the-face-of-bans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-mexico-sheriffs-say-they-stand-by-the-second-amendment-in-the-face-of-bansNew Mexico sheriffs say they ‘Stand by the Second Amendment’ in the face of bans 1/19/13 | by Max Slowik
30 of the state’s 33 county sheriffs want to remind everybody that they are under oath to support the U.S. Constitution, and that includes the Second Amendment—the right to bear arms.
“We’re not lawmakers, we’re sheriffs,” said Ken Christesen, San Juan County sheriff and chairman of the New Mexico Sheriffs Association. “That’s what we do, is enforce the law and defend the Constitution. We want to make sure that your rights as a citizen are protected.”
The sheriffs do support the President’s call for improved background checks for gun buyers , not just at gun stores but at gun shows and in private sales. But it’s the proposed gun ban that sticks in their craw.
I do agree with some points the President has brought forward,” said Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia. “But until a law is passed banning those guns, I’m sure we’ll have to deal with that. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
“I’m watching what’s going on very closely,” said Torrance County Sheriff Heath White. ” I want to reassure my citizens that I have their best interests in mind and I will do my job to the fullest extent.”
The hearing concerning the Motion for a New Trial in the Reese case that was scheduled to be heard today was postponed due to an untimely illness involving one of the attorneys.
The hearing has been rescheduled to January 28th, 2013 at 8:30 a.m. in Judge Brack’s courtroom in Las Cruces.
During the last hearing on December 18, 2012, Reese defense attorneys indicated they would be preparing a Motion for a New Trial as a result of their clients’ civil rights being violated. Defense attorneys explained that information contained in a sealed file that was available prior the Reese trial ending was not turned over to the defense in violation of rules.
The Motion for a New Trial has since been filed, however, shortly after it was filed the Motion for New Trial was sealed by the government. Defense attorneys then filed a Motion to Unseal the Motion for New Trial; however, the government in turn filed a Response Opposing the Motion to Unseal.
(Need a translation? The defense attorneys want the public to know what is in the motion, and the government is trying to keep it a secret.)
If the Motion for a New Trial remains sealed, will the public even be permitted to attend all or portions of the hearingon January 28, 2013? UNKNOWN.
During previous reports about the stunning development last month, the name of the subject and investigating agency involved were not reported in the belief that the hearing originally scheduled for this morning concerning the Motion for New Trial would be open to the public.It was anticipated that all sides of the information regarding the development concerning this officer and the investigating agency could be posted concerning how withholding this information affected the Reese case. This information could have included:
- the government’s position regarding the testimony of the officer during the Reese trial.
- the government’s position regarding any other issues in support of a new trial that possibly might have been brought up by the defense,
- the defense’s arguments regarding how any or all of this affected their client’s civil rights, including right to due process, and why a new trial would be justified,
- clarification regarding the Fast and Furious angle alluded to, if any,
- testimony directly from the officer involved, and,
- what all this sealed information may or may not have to do with the Reese case.
During the last hearing, the Reese defense attorneys expressed concern that the officer involved may have tempered his testimony because the officer may have known he was under investigation.
The officer involved has received a subpoena to testify in this upcoming hearing. If he didn’t know he was the subject of the stunning development reported on this website last month, he does now. However, now that the government has filed its Opposition to the Motion to Unseal the Motion for New Trial, the possibility exists that the hearing might be closed to the public. As a result, we are currently left with only partial information - the part that was made public during the last hearing.
It is time to reveal the information that was learned during the public hearing in front of a packed courtroom and ask questions.
The only part of the story that is known at this time was revealed in that packed open-to-the-public courtroom by James Tierney, Chief of the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office in New Mexico to Judge Brack when the judge wanted to know how it came about that the government withheld this evidence.
What Mr. Tierney informed the court at that time was:
- Luna County Sheriff Officer Allen BATTS is under investigation by the F.B.I.
- The F.B.I. file concerning the BATTS investigation has been open for several years.
- If an officer has a credibility problem it is noted in the officer’s file.
- However, when an officer has a credibility problem and is under investigation by another agency, the credibility problem is not noted in their file.
- This is not the first time there have been similar allegations and an investigation against Officer BATTS and that his name had been deleted from the other file.
The full context of Mr. Tierney’s comment concerning the FBI investigation into Officer BATTS and the alleged prior similar allegations, or what the allegations were or how and why his name was deleted from a file or under what context it was deleted remain UNKNOWN.
Mr. Tierney further explained to the Judge that the issue with Officer Batts does not have to do with traditional Giglio material. He repeated to the Judge that the issue is not within the realm of Giglio. Giglio refers to material that tends to impeach the character or testimony of a witness in a criminal trial.
If it isn’t traditional Giglio material – then what is it? UNKNOWN.
If it isn’t his testimony or character that is the central issue, what is the central issue involving Officer Batts that relates to the Reese case? UNKNOWN.
LCSO Allen BATTS has received a subpoena to testify at the Hearing for the Motion for New Trial in the Reese case. So who is Officer Batts and what role did he play in the case?
During trial, it was learned numerous times the criminal case against the Reeses started when Terri Reese called Luna County Sheriff Officer Allen BATTS and reported to him a suspicious person who had purchased weapons. Terri Reese provided all information and was characterized as being cooperative. (Note: previous website reports has Allen Batts’ name spelled incorrectly as Bass.)
Prior to Terri Reese calling Officer Batts, Terri Reese had received a weapons trace request concerning a weapon that had been recovered. The location of where the weapon was recovered was not indicated on the form. Terri Reese reviewed her records and as a matter of routine returned the trace information to the government. Terri testified that over the years New Deal received trace reports several times a year. At some point, Terri became suspicious about straw purchaser Penny Torres and contacted Officer Allen BATTS. Officer BATTS in turn notified other law enforcement agencies, which included BATFE (Bureaur of Alcohol, Tobacoo, Firearms and Explosives).
What role does the FBI investigation into Officer Batts play in the Reese case? UNKNOWN.
Why does the government want to keep the Motion for a New Trial sealed (secret)? UNKNOWN.
Does Officer Allen BATTS have a credibility problem? UNKNOWN.
Did Officer Allen BATTS know he was under investigation? UNKNOWN.
Did Officer Allen BATTS temper or change any of his testimony? UNKNOWN.
The FBI investigation into Officer Batts has been ongoing for several years according to the Chief of the Criminal Division of the US Attorneys Office in New Mexico. Is the government going to charge Officer Batts with a crime? UNKNOWN.
What has taken so long in the BATTS investigation? Is the government protecting one of its own at the expense of the Reese’s civil rights? UNKNOWN.
Is the government trying to hide something from the public regarding all this? UNKNOWN. All that is known at this time is that they want the Motion for the New Trial SEALED so the public can’t know what it in the motion.
What exactly did the defense attorneys put in the Motion for New Trial that the government doesn’t want the public to know? UNKNOWN.
One thing we do know is during the last hearing on the Motion for Emergency Release of Rick and Ryin Reese, Mr. Tierney explained to Judge Brack that the prosecutor in the Reese case (possibly Ms. Maria Armijo) wanted to disclose the information about Officer Batts prior to the end of the trial, however, the investigating agency, the F.B.I., did not want to have the information disclosed. Only now it seems the prosecutor has changed her/his mind since they want to keep the Motion for a New Trial SEALED. Does the prosecutor want to reveal the information or not? UNKNOWN.
Another thing we do know is this wouldn’t be the first case where the government doesn’t want the public to know what was really going on behind the scenes. All we have to do to look for proof of that is look at the Fast & Furious case.
If in fact the information in the sealed files that involve the F.B.I. investigation into Officer Allen BATTS is really a big to do about nothing, as it was characterized in the last hearing, then why all the secrecy now? What is really behind the reason to seal the Motion for a New Trial in the Reese case? That remains UNKNOWN.
The hearing to consider the MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL will be heard onJanuary 15, 2013 – 8:30 a.m. Judge Brack’s Courtroom 4th floor United States District Court 100 N. Church Street Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001
During the last hearing on the Motion for Immediate Release, Judge Robert Brack indicated he was not prepared to release Rick and Ryin Reese as he didn’t have enough evidence in front of him. Information currently available is that the evidence will be presented during this January 15th hearing.
Information that could be heard on January 15th may shed some light on two issues that were mentioned during the last hearing concerning the motion for immediate release of Rick and Ryin Reese.
First the public learned the government withheld information from the defense during trial and only recently provided it to the defense. The information was contained in a sealed file. During that hearing, the Chief of the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office for NM stated [name known but being withheld], who testified in the Reese trial, is under investigation by the [federal agency], and that the subject file has been open for approximately two years. Mr. Bowles alleged that testimony may have been tempered. Mr. Gorence pointed out the Reese’s civil rights were violated.
Second, defense attorney Robert Gorence mentioned during the hearing defense attorney Jason Bowles apparently may have uncovered a link between the Reese case and Operation Fast& Furious. The background of how Fast & Furious may play a role in the current motion for a new trial has not been revealed. In pre-trial hearings the government and ATF S/A Carlos Valles maintained that Fast & Furious played no role in the Reese case. A motion for a new trial based specifically on grounds relating to a Fast & Furious link has not been filed.
[The name and agency will be made pulic. Although stated in an open courtroom for all attending to hear, a decision was made to withhold since it appeared to be an active investigation.]
Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.
12-18-2012 • http://washington.cbslocal.com, by: Sharyl AttkissAuthorities had said that Maria Susana Flores Gamez was likely used as a human shield and that an automatic rifle had been found near her body after the Nov. 23 shootout.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tells CBS News that the Justice Department did not notify Congress that a Fast and Furious firearm was found at the scene in Sinaloa.CBS News learned the Romanian AK-47-type WASR-10 rifle found near her body was purchased by Uriel Patino at an Arizona gun shop in 2010. Patino is a suspect who allegedly purchased 700 guns while under the ATF’s watch.
The “Fast and Furious” operation was launched in 2009 to catch trafficking kingpins, but agents lost track of about 1,400 of the more than 2,000 weapons involved.
Authorities say the ring was believed to have supplied the Sinaloa cartel with guns. Mexico’s drug cartels often seek out guns in the U.S. because gun laws in Mexico are more restrictive than in the U.S.
TOWNHALL: Fast and Furious Gun Found at Murder Scene Was Purchased By Embattled ATF Supervisor
However a day later Katie Pavlich at Townall reported:
A Fast and Furious gun found a the murder scene of Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores, appears to have been purchased by embattled ATF supervisor George Gillet.
(please read the entire Pavlich artile)
Town Hall reported the embattled ATF Supervisor was the ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) of the ATF Phoenix Office was George Gillett. ASAC Gillette did not use his correct address on the forms, yet apparently the FBI still authorized the transaction.
Oddly, none of the FFL stores where Gillett purchased the weapons are identified in either the CBS or Townhall article.
It should be noted that establishment of Group VII and the Operation Fast & Furious began in October 2009. Two months later Mr. Gillet began purchasing weapons, December 15, 2009, January 5, 2010 and January 7, 2010.
The January 7, 2010 purchase included a FN Herstal 5.7 Caliber pistol. According to the government’s expert in the Reese case in New Mexico, this is a weapon known to be favored by the Mexican cartels.
The Townhall reporter Katie Pavlich notes, “According to documents obtained by Senator Chuck Grassley, it appears Gillett purchased a number of different firearms at a gun dealership in Phoenix as part of Operation Fast and Furious.”
This sentence in the Stunning Development reports: “What he wanted to know is why the information contained in the sealed indictment, information that the prosecutor had before the trial was concluded, wasn’t turned over as Brady evidence to the defense”, should read sealed documents not sealed indicment. The title of the kind of documents that were discussed in court yesterday were not identified.
In the sentence, “Mr. Tierney continued that on December 2nd the draft was readied by Ms. Armijo, distributed on December 7th, and was filed on December 21st” the month on each date should be changed to November, not December.
Today’s hearing regarding a motion for release pending sentencing was a public hearing. The defendants were present. The defendant’s family was present. Over 40 of the defendants’ friends and supporters packed the courtroom. At least three media reporters were present. All in all some 60 people were in the courtroom. We all heard what was said. It is no secret – even though it is probably supposed to be.
For the moment, however, this writer has decided to redact certain things regarding what happened today. Everything will come out soon enough. The gist of what happened should still be clear.
As reported in the last post, observers in the courtroom today learned that the reason for today’s hearing was:
- sealed documents provided by the prosecution to the defense attorneys quite recently triggered the request for immediate release of Rick and Ryin,
- sealed documents triggered accusations against the government of violating the constitutional rights of the defendants,
- sealed documents triggered motions that are being prepared requesting a new trial.
It was serious enough that the Chief of the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s office from Albuquerque had to come down and explain things to Judge Brack and then apologize to the judge.
Sealed documents are not public records. There are a number of reasons why documents get sealed. For example confidential settlement agreements in civil litigation can be sealed. In another example, criminal indictments are sometimes sealed until the person or persons are arrested, at which time the indictment is unsealed and made public. Sealed basically means only those authorized to know the contents are supposed to know what is in the document. The list is short.
As reported in the last post, the Judge was not interested in talking about sentencing issues in the Reese case.
What he wanted to know is why the information contained in the sealed indictment, information that the prosecutor had before the trial was concluded, wasn’t turned over as Brady evidence to the defense.
At issue here is the Supreme Court decision in Brady v Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). This was a landmark case in which the prosecution withheld evidence from the defendant. As a result, the government had violated his U.S. Constitutional 14th Amendment Right of Due Process. As a result of the courts decision in Brady, the prosecution must disclose evidence to the defense. This includes exculpatory evidence if there is a reasonable probability the conviction or sentence would have been different if the material had been disclosed. “Brady evidence” includes statements of witnesses or physical evidence that conflicts with the prosecution’s witnesses, and evidence that could allow the defense to impeach the credibility of a prosecution witness.
Mr. James Tierney, Chief of the Criminal Division explained to the Judge what happened and why this Brady evidence wasn’t turned over to the defense during trial.
First he explained how the prosecution failed to know about the information before trial. Mr. Tierney explained that he has a procedure for cases going to trial. There is a list of names that has to be given to prosecutor’s regarding witnesses. In this case that procedure didn’t happen. He further explained that XXXXXXXXXXXXX name was not listed in the correct place. Instead of being on the list, XXXXXXXXX name was in the body of the memo.
It was the mention of the name that caused the first quiet gasp of people observing the hearing.
Mr. Tierney continued that if someone in law enforcement has a credibility problem it is noted in their file. However, in this case because XXXXXXXXXXX is being investigated by another law enforcement agency, that note is not in their file.
This triggered the second gasp. At this point, since Mr. Tierney was naming names and the context of the problem (Brady evidence) from the sealed file that triggered today’s hearing, Ms. Armijo jumped up and interrupted Mr. Tierney by handing him a note. Mr. Tierney stopped speaking. Judge Brack interjected that Mr. Tierney should stop and reminded him it was Giglio material.
[Giglio information or material refers to material tending to impeach the character or testimony of the prosecution witness during a criminal trial.]
Mr. Tierney stated it was not in the realm of Giglio.
Mr. Tierney continued explaining they had a file on several witnesses and this file left his office. He stated it wasn’t traditional Giglio material. He stated XXXXXXXXXXX was being investigated by another law enforcement agency.
Judge Brack pointed out that this information had been in his office for several years. Mr. Tierney admitted that was true.
Judge Brack pointed out that Ms. Armijo is the branch chief, and Mr. Tierney again responded this is true.
Judge Brack wanted to know if Ms. Armijo was not made aware of the information. Mr. Armijo [correction 12/19, Mr. Tierney] responded again this was true, that the information was not discussed with anyone in her office and that other law enforcement may find out about the target.
Ms. Armijo jumped up again and handed Mr. Tierney a note and interrupted him once again. Mr. Tierney continued that Ms. Armijo did not know the name of the target.
Mr. Tierney continued and mentioned the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX case in 2XXX contained similar allegations with XXXXXXXX in that case. He also stated that XXXXXXXXXX name was deleted from that 2XXX file.
Mr. Tierney explained the reason for the delay was that Ms. Armijo received the information after closing. Someone named XXXXXXX XXXXXXX requested informaton from the file and investigated. Trial preparation was going on in 2011 and 2012. He found the file and put ABQ Ethics Officer on the file. A proposal was reviewed on how to disclose this to the Court.
Discussions were held between the investigating agency and the prosecutor on whether to disclose during the Reese trial. The prosecutor wanted to disclose, however, the law enforcement agency involved didn’t want to disclose because there was a case conflict in the state of XXXXXXXX.
On the 19th, these negotiations were still ongoing.
Mr. Tierney continued that on December 2nd the draft was readied by Ms. Armijo, distributed on December 7th, and was filed on December 21st.
He added that within the prosecutor’s office there was a lot of discussion if the information should be disclosed pending the investigation, which didn’t contain traditional Giglio information. He added in retrospect it should have been done quicker.
Mr. Tierney pointed out that it is before the Court to make a decision, whereas the Court could have made the decision four months ago.
Mr. Tierney stated it is his fault – he is in charge of the Criminal Division. He apologized to the Court for the delay.
Mr. Gorence thanked Mr. Tierney for his candor and for taking responsibility, however, the reality is that it should prove to their detriment.
Ms. Armijo, the prosecutor in the Reese case, made a comment along the lines that this is a lot of to do about nothing.
Judge Brack received his explanation. He explained he wasn’t satisfied with a system that could produce such a result. He expressed concern about the sequence of time in order for him to decide. He doesn’t want this to turn into a protracted process. He set time frames to move the process towards a mid-January hearing on motions for a new trial.
Mr. Gorence informed the court he foresees a protracted evidentiary hearing and that XXXXXXXXXXXXXX named by Mr. Tierney would be subpoenaed.
Mr. Bowles mentioned XXXXXXXXXXX in XXXXXXXXXX County knew the XXXXXXXXX was investigating, and that he may have tempered his testimony. Because of that, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX had conversations with XXXXXXXXX. This will show XXXXXXXXXXXX knew the government had XXXXXXXX and a lot of cases go from there.
After the hearing, defense attorneys were approached about publishing the information that has been redacted in this report. They confirmed that the information learned today is now pubic information since it has been revealed in court and there is no problem publishing the information including names. Given the probality that there is an ongoing active investigation involved, redaction seems prudent until subpoeanas for the January hearing are served.
Other than the revelations learned in court today as reported above, the rest of the contents of the file remain sealed. The contents of the portions of that file that were turned over to the defense are known by the defense attorneys.
It should also be noted the reporters present not only heard what happened in the courtroom, but also interviewed the defense attorneys outside of the courtroom. They have made no mention of the above, or that motions for a new trial will be filed by the end of the year. It is not known if the judge will grant a new trial. It is not known if the judge does grant a new trial if the prosecution will re-file charges. The Reese’s cannot be tried again for the charges of which they have already been acquitted.
If it isn’t crystal clear in the redacted portion above, the bottom line is the Chief of the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office for NM let it be known today that XXXXX in law enforcement, who testified in the Reese trial, is under investigation by XXXXXX. At issue is his credibility as a prosecution witness against the Reeses.
During the hearing today, Mr. Gorence stated that had the jury known this information the verdict many have resulted in acquittals on all counts.