Defense says Prosecutor Steered Police Away from Evidence Freddie Gray had History of ‘Crash for Cash’ Schemes
Kevin Rector, Baltimore Sun, Aug. 6, 2015
The police detectives who investigated the death of Freddie Gray were told that he had a history of participating in “crash-for-cash” schemes–injuring himself in law enforcement settings to collect settlements–but were advised by a state prosecutor not to pursue the information, according to defense attorneys for the six officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death.
The defense attorneys said in a court motion Thursday that Assistant State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe told police investigators working the case in its early stages not to “do the defense attorneys’ jobs for them” by pursuing information they had about such schemes and evidence that Gray “intentionally injured himself at the Baltimore City Detention Center.”
Bledsoe, the lead prosecutor in the case against the officers, represented Gray in a 2012 case in which he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.
The defense attorneys argued that her alleged statement “would seem to indicate some level of knowledge that exculpatory evidence exists which could benefit the officers charged in Mr. Gray’s death and that the prosecutor did not want this information uncovered by investigators.”
The defense attorneys said they obtained the information from interviews with prosecution witnesses.
They have argued in previous motions that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has failed to provide large amounts of evidence through the normal discovery process, and that they have spent hundreds of hours collecting evidence on their own.
Defense attorneys have sought to have Mosby and others removed from the case.
Defense attorneys repeated their argument that members of Mosby’s office have made themselves witnesses in the case by acting outside their prosecutorial role as investigators.
Mosby’s office has said there is little precedent for removing prosecutors on the grounds raised by the defense.
The defense said that’s true–but “not surprising since the actions of the [state’s attorney’s office] and its attorneys in the Freddie Gray case are unprecedented.”
“Rarely,” they wrote, “do prosecutors inject themselves so deeply into the fabric of an investigation–as State’s Attorney Mosby and her prosecutors have done–to make themselves material witnesses in a case in which they are supposed to act as lawyers.”