Prosecutors: former DEA agent Chad Scott is a liar; defense says witnesses are tainted

Prosecutors: former DEA agent Chad Scott is a liar; defense says witnesses are tainted

https://www.nola.com/news/courts/article_e0071a16-c28f-11e9-8e43-e30b1d68b458.html

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For nearly two decades, Chad Scott helped push criminal cases through federal courtrooms as a decorated field agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, eventually leading a multiagency task force based on the north shore, where he patrolled the heavily traveled drug corridor of Interstate 12.

But for the second time this year, Scott sat Monday at the defense table in a federal courtroom in New Orleans and listened to a special team of prosecutors describe him as an out-of-control liar who leveraged his job as a way to coerce drug dealers to give him what he wanted.

His defense attorneys countered that Scott was an outstanding agent who is being railroaded by resentful drug dealers and convicted cops looking to get a better deal from the feds.

The arguments kicked off Scott’s retrial on seven counts of perjury plus obstruction of justice and falsification of government records. Earlier this year, a jury deadlocked on the charges against Scott, and U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo was forced to declare a mistrial.

U.S. Department of Justice special prosecutor Charles Miracle’s opening presentation Monday sought to build a stronger foundation and narrative than the government did in the first trial.

During his half-hour opening statement, Miracle told the newly empaneled jury of seven men and five women that Scott’s case was about “honesty and integrity” and that Scott had repeatedly lied to get things he wanted.

“These are not minor lies,” Miracle said. “These lies had consequences.”

Miracle told the jury that Scott had betrayed the trust of his employers and the entire criminal justice system.

He acknowledged, in an effort to head off what will be a focus of the defense’s presentation, that the witnesses against Scott are not innocent men: Three of them are admitted drug traffickers who moved scores of kilograms of cocaine and heroin; two others are former drug task force officers who have since pleaded guilty to federal crimes.

“A number of witnesses in this case have criminal backgrounds,” Miracle said, but the evidence they will present “fits together with common sense and logic.”

Specifically, Miracle said, the prosecutors will show that Scott ordered Frederick Brown to buy him a truck like the one Brown himself drove. Brown did so, and Scott picked it up in Houston while there for a water skiing tournament. Days later, Scott turned in the truck at his Metairie DEA office with forms that said Brown had surrendered it in Metairie as part of his role as an informant for Scott. He also told Karl Newman, a task force officer who is slated to testify against Scott, to say they had gotten the truck in Metairie, Miracle said.

The truck was later allocated to Scott to use as his undercover vehicle.

In the perjury counts, Scott is accused of lying on the stand about the relationship between Brown and a trafficker named Jorge Perralta. Scott also faces an obstruction of justice charge for allegedly trying to convince Brown and a man named Edwin Martinez to say that Brown knew Perralta. Brown will testify that he never met Perralta, Miracle said.

Scott’s attorney, Matthew Coman, signaled the defense’s intention to attack the government’s case even more aggressively than it did the first time, spending the first few minutes of his own opening statement scoffing at the government’s witnesses.

Perralta, one of the drug traffickers who is expected to testify, “will admit he supplied kilo after kilo of heroin to this conspiracy that made its way to Hammond, Louisiana,” Coman said. “From Houston to our hometown.”

Despite those admissions, Coman noted, Perralta will walk in and out of the court a free man because he has been granted immunity in return for his testimony against Scott. Similarly, Martinez faced life in prison, Coman said. But because of a deal with prosecutors, he could be released next year.

Newman refused to tell the government what it wanted to hear until prosecutors added new charges to his indictment, Coman said. Then, faced with the possibility of 30 years in prison, Newman caved and agreed to testify as prosecutors wanted, Coman argued.

“This is the government’s case: people that sold drugs and have something to gain,” he argued.

“On the other side of the ledger, Chad Scott is a 20-year veteran of the DEA who put his life on the line on a regular basis” and is innocent, Coman said.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

One Response

  1. This is the problem with everything in life today. Everyone wants the almighty Dollar. They don’t care how they get it. They don’t care who they will hurt. And until they start putting these people away in prison nothing will change. It starts at the top with all the thieving politicians to the corrupt judges,to the rogue policeman and on and on..So how or where do you start to correct this? I see a tunnel,but I don’t see no light,and that is sad.

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