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for a business partner's client (Joseph Mobareki) — as "unacceptible" and vowed to seek to have Brizzi's law license rescinded.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. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

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