Ex-Detroit Fed Prosecutor Convertino Stepped into New Controversy With Old Colleagues: Then Case Suddenly Ends
By Allan Lengel ticklethewire.com
Richard Convertino, the controversial former Detroit federal prosecutor is in the middle of a controversy once again with former colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
This time it’s over wiretaps.
Federal prosecutors in a court motion claim that Convertino, who is now a defense attorney, breached a court secrecy order and disclosed government informants when he filed a motion to suppress evidence from wiretaps in a bribery case against his client, ex-state Rep. Mary Waters, according to the Detroit News. Convertino told the paper he has done nothing improper.
Convertino has a history with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Known as a hard-charging prosecutor, he successfully prosecuted two men on terrorism related charges in 2003. A third co-defendant was only convicted on fraud charges and a fourth was acquitted. The men had been arrested shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
Then the case unraveled.
Justice Department concluded there was prosecutorial misconduct in the case and dropped the terrorism charges against the two men, Karim Koubriti and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi. Convertino had denied wrongdoing.
In 2004, Convertino filed a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department for violating his privacy by allegedly leaking to the Detroit Free Press damaging information accusing him of misconduct in the terrorism case. He also claimed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office leaked information that exposed a confidential informant. The lawsuit is still ongoing.
The battle only escalated. In 2006, Convertino was indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly allowing false testimony in the terrorism trial. He was acquitted in 2007, but the whole ordeal caused a lot of internal strife in the office, and to this day, has certainly not been forgotten.
The latest chapter centers on the wiretaps in an upcoming federal bribery case involving a suburban city council member.
In the latest filings, prosecutors called misleading and inaccurate claims by Convertino that the wiretaps for political consultant Sam Riddle, a co-defendant in the case, were illegally obtained and extended for seven months, the Detroit News reported. The government motion was filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Cares and David Gardey.
“The wiretaps here easily withstand scrutiny given the vast array of criminal activity by Riddle detailed in the affidavits”, the prosecutors wrote, according to the Detroit News.
The government also alleged in the court filing that Convertino “violated at least two orders of this court by revealing a significant amount of sealed information in his public filings.”
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