U.S. judge criticizes prosecutor in drug case He says he may address possible unethical conduct

September 08, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

While sentencing convicted money-launderer Philip Manglitz of Glenwood to nine years in prison and a $25,000 fine Friday, the federal judge hearing the case admonished the prosecutor for what he called "an ethical problem."

U.S. District Judge Herbert N. Maletz sharply criticized Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Kay and suggested he may address the matter later.

If judges determine there has been unethical conduct by prosecutors, they can impose fines, hold them in contempt or refer them to the Office of Professional Responsibility of the U.S. Department of Justice, among other options.

U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia said she would review Maletz's criticisms independently to see whether internal action should be taken against Kay.

"I am going to review the transcript and decide whether the [internal] procedures should be invoked," Battaglia said.

Kay prosecuted Manglitz this summer on money-laundering and drug conspiracy charges for Manglitz's role in a drug ring that imported more than 3 tons of marijuana to western Howard County for distribution in the region, according to testimony in the case. Manglitz was convicted in June.

At the sentencing hearing Friday in Baltimore, Manglitz said: "Justice did not prevail in my case, and I will continue to profess my innocence."

Manglitz had faced up to life in prison for his conviction on charges of laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars for the western Howard County drug ring by accepting bundles of drug money for subdivision lots.

The judge attacked Kay for giving Manglitz's probation officer inaccurate information that could have brought Manglitz two additional years in jail.

Saying he would be "charitable," Maletz said he assumed Kay made a mistake when he misquoted trial testimony to the officer preparing a sentencing investigation for the court, which resulted in the officer recommending a higher level of sentencing.

Arguing for a stiffer sentence, Kay wrote that Manglitz's former partner -- Ron Carter -- testified that Manglitz had told him not to talk to federal authorities after Carter was arrested -- a possible attempt to obstruct justice.

Maletz read from the trial transcript where Carter testified that Manglitz instead told him: "Let your lawyers do the talking."

Kay responded that when he wrote the July letter to the officer, he did not have the testimony in front of him. He said he told the officer about the mistake before the officer made his report.

"You did not call to the court's attention what I regard as a major error," Maletz told Kay.

Maletz also said he was concerned that prosecutors may have leveled a separate charge of witness intimidation against Manglitz to jail the developer before sentencing. Maletz had denied prosecution requests to jail Manglitz after his conviction and before sentencing, allowing him to remain free on electronic monitoring and a $1.3 million bond.

After federal prosecutors alleged that Manglitz sent threatening correspondence to a woman he believed was giving information to federal authorities, a U.S. magistrate jailed Manglitz on the witness intimidation charge -- punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

"I have some questions as to whether the indictment was pretextual so that Mr. Manglitz could be incarcerated," Maletz told Kay and defense attorneys.

Maletz suggested Kay circumvented him when Kay asked for the arrest warrant from U.S. Magistrate Paul M. Rosenberg. "That is one of the reasons I have an ethical problem as far as you are concerned," Maletz told Kay.

Battaglia said her office planned to proceed with the witness intimidation case. A trial date had not been set.

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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