It may be one of the most unexpected verdicts of the year. Geoffrey Fieger and law partner Ven Johnson were acquitted on all charges after an 18 day trial on illegal campaign contributions. The jury deliberated for four days to reach the verdict. It is a major loss for the Justice Department given what seemed an over-whelming case with cooperating witnesses and massive effort. It was also a trial marred by accusations of strong-arm tactics by FBI agent, Jeffrey Rees, which may have poisoned the well for some jurors.
The bets on the street favored conviction in the case given the many witnesses who testified that they were not only reimbursed for contributions to the Edwards campaign but actually raised concerns over the practice to Feiger.
DETROIT (AP) – A jury rejected the government’s case against Geoffrey Fieger on Monday, finding the one-time Jack Kervorkian lawyer not guilty of violating federal campaign finance laws.
The government alleged that he illegally contributed $127,000 to Edwards.
The defense only called one witness: Fieger himself. It may have made all the difference in defeating the ten counts against him.
One of the most successful aspects of the defense was to bring out that witnesses were hammered by abusive tactics by an FBI agent, Jeffrey Rees. One cooperating witness refused to testify if Rees was even in the room, click here. Her account is unfortunately familiar to many that I have heard from witnesses. Indeed, I have asked for internal investigations of agents in the past who have threatened, lied, and mistreated people in the course of their investigations. It is telling that, despite mutual witnesses complaining about Rees, the Justice Department has again done nothing, even though it may have served to undermine a major prosecution.