By Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier
Editor’s Note: This story was first published in the print edition of the County Courier on Thursday, August 3, 2017.
ST. ALBANS: Former Senator McAllister was convicted of just one crime when he went to trial last month, a misdemeanor charge of prohibited acts for assisting in the act of prostitution.
Late last week his lawyer, Bob Katims, filed a motion to have that conviction overturned.
“The defendant is entitled to a judgment of acquittal,” Katims wrote to the court.
The County Courier is the first to report on McAllister attempting to reverse the charges.
Katims cites a half a dozen reasons in his motion as to why the conviction should be overturned.
Among other reasons, Katims alleges the court erred prejudicially against McAllister when the prosecution took testimony from one of the arresting officers.
That testimony was that McAllister declined to talk with them- essentially taking advantage of his fifth amendment rights. Katims alleges that having that testimony aired in front of the jury, the jury could have been biased against McAllister because he chose not to continue speaking with the officers.
Katims also argues in his motion that McAllister had nothing to do with the alleged prostitution, noting that the state never proved that he had.
Katims notes that McAllister testified he had been told by his accuser that she had previously had sex for money with a man. The court ordered that the testimony should be disregarded. The argument is that if the testimony were allowed, the jury would have had an explanation for McAllister’s statements that were made in a telephone recording.
“That communication alone would explain (McAllister’s) reference on the tape, without substantiating allegations that (McAllister) procured (the accuser) to engage in prostitution.” Katims wrote to the judge.
Katims also cites his continued request for a change of venue, which he requested numerous times throughout the trial and pretrial conferences leading up to the week long July trial.
In each of those requests, Katims said that extensive media attention, particularly through print media in Franklin County, the jury pool was biased against his client.
Katims said that just about every jury member recalled knowing something about the case, and the trial should never have been allowed to occur in Franklin County because of it.
Lastly, and possibly the most notable reason that Katims believes the conviction should be overturned, is the denial by the judge that the state committed a Brady Violation during the pretrial stage and that the Defense (a month before the trial was scheduled) needed more time to prepare adequately for trial.
“The evidence presented in this case was legally insufficient to support a guilty verdict.” Katims wrote, “Additionally, the trial resulting in the Defendant’s conviction was marred by a number of substantial, prejudicial errors. Only a new trial, at a minimum, can preserve (McAllister’s) due process rights and ensure that any conviction is obtained fairly and not as a result of a tainted jury pool, the introduction of inadmissible evidence, or the improper execution of withholding of legitimate evidence.”
Judge Robert Mellow had not ruled on the merits of the motion as of press time on Wednesday.