Federal prosecutors want a Rochester judge to deny a motion for dismissal by embattled developer Robert C. Morgan, rejecting his attorneys' arguments about violations of speedy-trial rules as an irrelevant effort to link two unrelated issues.
In a filing with U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, prosecutors say that Morgan's claims of procedural delays are irrelevant and just an "attempt to bootstrap discovery issues into a Speedy Trial Act violation" – a charge the government denies.
Morgan's attorneys alleged that the U.S. Attorney's Office repeatedly failed to produce for the defense all the evidence and documentation against the developer – as required under standard "discovery" rules to allow defendants to confront the charges.
Despite seizing computers, servers, smartphones and files during a May 2018 raid of Morgan's offices, the attorneys say, the prosecutors have taken more than 18 months to turn over the materials behind the 114-count indictment against Morgan and three others. They say some documents have still not been made available, and the prosecution recently acknowledged misclassifying some 16,000 emails as usable when they should have been protected under attorney-client or marital privileges.
As a result, they say, too much time has elapsed since the charges were brought, far exceeding both the timeline initially ordered by a magistrate judge and the legal guidelines under the federal Speedy Trial Act. And in turn, they conclude, that not only justifies dismissal of the charges, but also a penalty of denying the government the ability to bring a new indictment.
Nonsense, prosecutors responded. First, the defense attorneys never addressed the federal rule governing document discovery. Additionally, the magistrate's order setting a schedule for document discovery was not all-or-nothing, but rather an effort to "ensure the government did not allow deadlines to pass without productions," they asserted. "The government did not do so, and did not violate the order."
Finally, the government said, any delay in document discovery has been short, and the government "has worked continuously in good faith to correct any errors and provide complete and accessible discovery."