Buncich Attorney: Govt. Paid Witnesses Over $120K

July 2, 2017-In a court filing, the attorney for former Lake County Dem Chair/Sheriff John Buncich says that cooperating witnesses have been paid over $120,000 and given additional funds to provide campaign contributions. The statement is made in a legal document often referred to as a “Brady Motion” which refers to the United States Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). As explained by the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, “In Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963), the Supreme Court held that “the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused … violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.” (http://www.pdsdc.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/brady-outline-final-(2013).pdf?sfvrsn=0 ) In short, the Motion seeks to force the government to turn over information which may be helpful to the defense.

In the Buncich case, the defense is asking for evidence of payments to witnesses indicating that the total amount paid is over $120,000. Attorney Truitt specifically states that he does not know to whom the payments were made and when. The Motion indicates that the Government has “at least two” cooperating witnesses. In the past, reference had been made to only one cooperating witness-Individual A later identified as towing operator Scott Jurgensen.

In addition to the Brady Motion, Attorney Truitt is asking the Court to allow detailed questioning of witnesses by both defense and government lawyers. In that Motion Truitt says an “endless negative campaign by the Northwest Indiana Times and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott” requires the additional scrutiny. Truitt acknowledges that the Sheriff is an elected official who still enjoys considerable support among the public and argues that the Government would benefit from questioning potential jurors as well.”

The trial of Defendant John Buncich is scheduled to begin on August 7, 2017 and additional pre-trial materials are expected in coming weeks.

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