For the second time in recent months a federal judge has lashed out at federal prosecutors and accused them improper conduct. In Washington, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan not only just dismissed the conviction of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, but ordered an independent attorney to probe the misconduct of the government. Now in Miami, a judge has taken offense to the government’s conduct and fined the government big time.
BY MICHAEL VASQUEZ
The Miami Herald
MIAMI — Accusing federal prosecutors of knowingly and repeatedly violating ethical guidelines in a high-profile narcotics trial, a Miami federal judge Thursday reprimanded multiple assistant U.S. attorneys who took part in the case — and fined the federal government more than $600,000.
U.S. District Judge Alan Gold’s harshly critical 50-page order takes the federal government to task for acting deceptively and ”in bad faith” in the case of Miami Beach doctor Ali Shaygan, who was acquitted last month of 141 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers.
The $601,795 fine will be paid to Shaygan as reimbursement for much of his legal fees and costs. Gold formally reprimanded prosecutors Sean Cronin, Karen Gilbert and Andrea Hoffman and said he would send a copy of the order to the Florida Bar for its review.
While prosecuting Shaygan, the U.S. attorney’s office began a secret, undisclosed side investigation of Shaygan’s legal team, citing a suspicion of witness tampering on the part of the defense.