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Judge Rejects Prosecution's Request for Gag Order in White Collar Crime Case

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Constitutional rightsTypically, gag orders are used to provide protections to the defendant, witnesses, or potential jurors in high profile criminal cases. Examples include cases involving a celebrity, cases where the alleged crimes are particularly gruesome, or when publicity could jeopardize a defendant’s right to a fair trial. They are not intended to protect the government or prosecution when a mistake has been made, such as discrimination or a violation of defendant’s rights. Sadly, that does not always stop the prosecution from trying, as evidenced by a recent gag order request from the Wisconsin Justice Department on a pending white collar crime case.

About the Case

Charged with 10 felony counts of securities fraud, two brothers are being accused of not telling prospective investors that their company was on the brink of financial ruin. Their company went $60 million into debt, according to court documents, and 31 investors allegedly lost millions. But, according to their attorney, the brothers followed the advice of their attorney and made all the necessary disclosures, releasing them from any type of criminal acts.

Defense Attorney’s Statement to the Press

Shortly after the charges were filed, the media began to cover the case. The brothers’ defense attorney reportedly sent out a press release, accusing the state of wrongly criminalizing and charging the brothers. He went on to claim that the case was an example of abuse in discretion and improper use of the criminal justice system. That statement proved to be rather inflammatory and, shortly thereafter, the Justice Department issued a request for a gag order.

Gag Order Request

In their request, the Justice Department claimed they were concerned that it would be impossible to find impartial jurors if media was not controlled via a gag order. Initially, this was a broad request, asking that the defense attorneys and their clients not be able to speak to the media or the public about the court proceedings. This was later revised to simply prohibit statements to the media that could “prejudice” the proceedings.

Media and Defense Attorneys Push Back

The First Amendment right of the Constitution protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Because the requested gag order sought to only cut off the media, potentially to silence the defendants and their attorneys, the media and the attorneys pushed back against the request, calling it unconstitutional. The judge ultimately rejected the request and, for now, the media can continue to report on the case.

Charged with a Crime? Ensure Your Constitutional Rights Are Protected

While Americans are led to believe that only criminals who are actually guilty of crimes are jailed, the real truth is that an alarming number of people are wrongfully convicted. Even more concerning is the number of people whose Constitutional rights are violated while navigating the criminal justice system. As such, anyone facing criminal charges should ensure they have experienced, aggressive legal representation.

At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP we understand the damage that criminal allegations can have on your personal and professional life. We also know that the justice system is not always fair. Skilled and highly knowledgeable, we have the experience and background needed to help you work toward the best possible outcome for your case. Get the representation you deserve and schedule your consultation with our Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys. Call us at 414-271-1440 today.

 

Sources:

http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/news/crime/2016/04/13/judge-rejects-gag-order-wisconsin-fraud-case/82914214/

http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/news/crime/2016/04/07/media-fight-secrecy-wisconsin-fraud-case/82701696/

 

 

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