Chesterton Tribune



Prosecutor asks judge to allow trial of Portage mayor on corruption charges

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PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) - An indicted northwest Indiana mayor hasn’t proved that the handling of case-related emails warrant dismissing his corruption charges, according to a federal prosecutor.

Portage Mayor James Snyder recently filed a motion to have bribery and tax evasion charges dismissed because trial attorneys saw emails he said were protected by attorney-client privilege and contained information about work product and legal strategy. Snyder also previously asked for the prosecution team’s dismissal.

Snyder and his attorney haven’t illustrated how the email situation infringes on Snyder’s constitutional right to a fair trial, said Jill Koster, assistant U.S. attorney. She said there’s no evidence the emails were privileged and the defense hasn’t shown any resulting prejudice.

“Even if defendant were able to meet his burden, he cites no support for the proposition that indictments ought to be dismissed or prosecution teams disqualified when attorney work-product is revealed,” Koster said.

Snyder’s lawyer, Jackie M. Bennett Jr., filed a motion Monday asking the U.S. District Court to compel prosecutors to turn over information about the government’s review process of the emails.

The government filed a response that same day alleging the defense is starting a “fishing expedition” with such information inquiries.

Snyder was indicted in November 2016. He pleaded not guilty last year to bribery related to city towing vendor and public works contracts, and tax evasion charges related to Snyder’s private business. His trial is scheduled for June 4.

Snyder is a Republican who was elected to his second term as Portage mayor in 2015.

The Democratic former sheriff of neighboring Lake County, John Buncich, was sentenced in January to more than 15 years in prison for a related case of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from towing businesses.


Posted 4/19/2018




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