Mary Beth’s Buggin’, Ct’d…

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Former U.S. Attorney David Igelsias says Mary Beth Buchanan’s decision to send FBI agents out to question members of the Wecth trial “smells of intimidation.” It’s also odd that federal prosecutors immediately announced they’d retry the case without polling the jury in the courtroom.

Also, we learn from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the judge in the case gave attorneys from both sides strict orders not to record the names of the jurors. If that’s the case, how did Buchanan track them down to send FBI agents to their homes?

The lingering question, if this case show’s that Buchanan’s office is overly aggressive, driven by politics, and will bend (or break) the rules to win, why should she be given the benefit of the doubt in other cases? For example, one of the key points of contention in the post-trial action in the Rottschaefer case is the defense’s contention–and the prosecution’s denial–that the witnesses against the doctor were given deals. If Buchanan and her subordinates have proven themselves to be less than trustworthy in the Wecth case, oughtn’t that cause the courts to take a look at other cases, too?

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4 Responses to “Mary Beth’s Buggin’, Ct’d…”

  1. #1 |  Kid Handsome | 

    Has the defense counsel interviewed any of the witnesses in the Rottschaefer case to ascertain whether they received deals. I expect that they did receive deals, but don’t know how hard it is to determine, in a Federal case, whether a deal was provided.

    Certainly, blatant perjury was shown in that case. I still find the appeals court’s refusal to at least grant a new trial to be insane and unjust.

  2. #2 |  Nick T | 

    To answer your final question, Radley: No. sorry, I’m completely on board with you as to how much this woman sucks and how unjust these cases are, but her willingness to be an out and out scum bag in one case should not give appellate courts grounds to review or determine a problem with any of her other cases.

    Of course, the appellate court can only hear appeals that are filed and should judge each case on its own merits. It would be great if a judge would point out “disturbing patterns” in a prosecutors behavior but those really shouldn’t be used as deciding the instant case before the judge. a prosecutors incompetence/bias/lack of ethics is really a problem that should be addressed through political means. Sadly, that is very unlikely to happen, but it doesn’t mean judges should take it upon themselves.

  3. #3 |  Bill from PA | 

    Kid Handsome,

    Here is what has happened in the Rottschaefer case. During the trial of Dr. Rottschaefer, the witnesses denied they were testifying in exchange for plea deals with the prosecution. Because the prosecution had not filed the paperwork on the deals, the defense could not counter this contention. After the conviction of Dr. Rottschaefer, US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan filed motions to have the criminals who testified against Dr. Rottschaefer released from jail and sentenced to probation for their crimes. Buchanan wrote that the motions were for the “substantial assistance the witnesses provided in the investigation and conviction of Dr. Rottschaefer.”

    Even though the deals were now executed, the defense still could not prove the deals were in place with the witnesses prior to trial. When the prosecution witnesses filed civil malpractice lawsuits against Dr. Rottschaefer, the discovery process opened up. Dr. Rottschaefer’s civil attorneys located medical records from one of the prosecution witnesses from the time directly before the trial, during, and directly after in which the prosecution witness confessed to her psychiatrist she was concerned about her testimony because providing beneficial testimony was imperative to the prosecution honoring the agreement to grant her probation for her own criminal acts. Dr. Rottschaefer’s defense attorneys were also provided correspondences from another witness in the case to her then boyfriend in jail that were written prior to the trial of Dr. Rottschaefer. These correspondences detailed how the US Attorney had promised her probation for multiple felonies in exchange for beneficial testimony against Dr. Rottschaefer.

    Both witnesses had denied on the stand that any agreements were in place. The prosecutor, who was implicated in the negotiation of these deals and the one who signed off on them after trial, was sitting in the court room and did not inform the court that her witnesses were perjuring themselves on the stand. The jury in Dr. Rottschaefer’s case should have been informed that the witnesses were be offered deals in exchange for their testimony in order to properly weight the veracity of their statements. Instead, ths jury was told the exact opposite that the witnesses were receiving no deals which was a blatant lie.

    With this new information, Dr. Rottschaefer filed a motion for new trial. This motion also raised an additional issue that all the prosecution witnesses now confirmed under oath in the civil proceedings that they did have the ailments the medications were meant to treat, that the medications were effectively treating their ailments, and that they were never addicted to the medications. Anyhow, that is an entirely different story.
    The district judge refused to review the evidence of the witnesses documented discussions with the psychiatrist and the witnesses correspondences and only focus on the motions by the prosecution filed after trial. The judge ruled that because the prosecution filed motions after trial did not prove that their was a pre-existing deal prior to trial for said motions. Odd thing though, the witnesses were both looking at 10 to 20 years in jail for their crime and somehow documented prior to trial that they would get probation for their testimonies. This was what they got.

    Dr. Rottschaefer appealed the judge’s ruling on the grounds that the judge had refused to review the evidence presented. The appeals court did the same error that the judge did. Dr. Rottschaefer filed a motion for rehearing, but yet again the court failed to act.

    The appeals court and the judge are clearly holding to the status quo and do not wish to overturn a wrongful conviction. Since Buchanan is outright corrupt in this case, the judges themselves by their actions are corrupt.

  4. #4 |  The Agitator » Blog Archive » Monday Morning Poll: The 2nd Annual Worst Prosecutor of the Year (WOPOTY) Award | 

    […] 2008, Buchanan continued her political persecution of Dr. Cyril Wecht, at one point sending FBI agents to interview (read: intimidate) the jurors who embarrassed her by refusing to convict him. In May, […]