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4 remaining officers seek indictment dismissal in Gray case

Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Alicia D. White

Officer Garrett E. Miller

All four of the remaining officers charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray are seeking to have their cases dismissed after they claim documents show the Sheriff’s Office sought charges without conducting its own investigation and a Baltimore Police detective was given a script to read from during her grand jury testimony.

Lt. Brian Rice, Officer Garrett Miller, Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter filed the motions seeking dismissal based on a “defect in the institution of the prosecution” in their cases. Rice is scheduled to go to trial Tuesday followed by Miller July 27.

A combination of a recently unsealed affidavit from Maj. Samuel Cogan of the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office and revelations about the grand jury testimony of Baltimore Police Detective Dawnyell Taylor gave rise to the belief that proceedings at both the District Court and Circuit Court levels were undertaken improperly, according to the motions, which include a request for grant jury transcripts.

The motion focuses on an affidavit filed by Cogan in a federal defamation suit stemming from the charges. The motion alleges that Cogan, who signed the applications for charges against each of the six officers last year, stated in the affidavit that he did not participate in the prosecutors’ investigation but reviewed the fruits of it before completing the applications. Cogan, in the affidavit, also says the state provided him with a narrative that formed the basis of the application t0 which he made few changes.

A peace officer signing under oath for charges may rely on hearsay information, but the sworn facts must contain the underlying circumstances that make the information credible, according to the motion.

Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Alicia D. White

Sgt. Alicia D. White

The motion also claims Taylor was given a “script” to read during her grand jury testimony and that a prosecutor later answered juror questions without being sworn in as a witness. The request for grand jury transcripts is related to this allegation with the defendants arguing they have a “legitimate, particularized need” for the testimony to confirm the alleged defects in the Circuit Court prosecution.

The filings also reference “certain belated disclosures” made by the state after Judge Barry Williams ordered the State’s Attorney’s Office to review all of its files for potentially exculpatory information earlier this month. Those disclosures “form support” for the motion, but the judge has instructed the attorneys not to use them without permission.

Prosecution struggles

Prosecutors have faced mounting difficulties in prosecuting the cases against the six officers. Officer William Porter’s trial ended with a hung jury in December and since then two officers have been acquitted at bench trials in front of Williams.

Monday’s motions were not the first time the defense has slung accusations at the State’s Attorney’s Office for its handling of the cases.

At a hearing in September, Williams denied a motion for State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office to recuse itself from the case based on a conflict of interest and a request that the case be dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct. Williams admonished both parties at that hearing for the tone of their filings, which were growing increasingly vitriolic as the first trial approached.

Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Alicia D. White

Lt. Brian W. Rice

The prosecutor’s office has also been repeatedly called out for discovery violations, most recently when it was revealed that a statement made by the man who was in the back of the van with Gray was never turned over to the defense.

Mosby is also facing civil lawsuits from five of the six officers for defamation and related offenses.

Mosby’s office has declined to respond to the allegations, citing a gag order prohibiting attorneys on the cases from making extrajudicial statements since October.