ILNews

Feds decline to press charges against former prosecutor Brizzi

IBJ Staff
October 22, 2013
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Federal prosecutors have declined to press criminal charges against former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi after a three-year investigation failed to yield sufficient direct evidence he accepted bribes while in office.

A joint public corruption task force led by the FBI and Indiana State Police in the last few weeks presented evidence it had gathered on Brizzi to federal prosecutors, who feared the mostly circumstantial case would not hold up in front of a jury or on appeal, sources told IBJ.

Brizzi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett confirmed for the first time in a statement Tuesday that Brizzi was indeed the target of a federal investigation, but that successful cases against two Brizzi associates had failed to yield anything beyond circumstantial evidence against the two-term prosecutor.

In a statement, Hogsett described Brizzi's actions — accepting $25,000 in campaign contributions from the father of a woman (Paula Willoughby) who was seeking a modification to a murder sentence and arranging a lenient plea bargain for a business partner's client (Joseph Mobareki) — as "unacceptible" and vowed to seek to have Brizzi's law license rescinded.

The U.S. Attorney's Office successfully charged Brizzi's former deputy prosecutor David Wyser for accepting a bribe (he pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing), and defense attorney and Brizzi friend Paul J. Page for wire fraud (he also pleaded guilty).

But the feds were unsuccessful at trial in a fraud case against Brizzi friend and business partner John Bales and two partners, who faced a handful of felony charges relating to a real estate deal in Elkhart. A jury found the men not guilty on all 13 counts.

The not-guilty verdict in the Bales case was likely a factor in the U.S. Attorney's Office decision not to pursue a case against Brizzi, though Hogsett did not reference the case in his prepared statement.

"As the United States Attorney, I must determine that there is sufficient admissible evidence to prove a federal crime beyond a reasonable doubt prior to authorizing criminal charges," Hogsett said. "Because neither Paul Page, nor David Wyser, nor any other witness has provided direct evidence that Mr. Brizzi received a bribe in connection with the Willoughby matter or the Mobareki plea bargain, I have determined that there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Brizzi committed the crime of bribery and sustain a conviction."
 

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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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