Justice Delayed – Still Sweet
In early 2016, a convicted felon named Brian Wright was facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison for masterminding a string of armed robberies which netted $1.1 million worth of jewelry.
Then, suddenly, the April 25 trial date for Wright and co-defendant Danielle Perreira was vacated. U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon ripped into the federal prosecutors handling the case for discovery violations. He also gutted the Government’s case, cutting their time and witnesses list to the bone.
The rulings left the Feds with so much egg on their face that the Government was constrained to hold a fire-sale; the robbery and conspiracy charges were dismissed, and Wright pled only to firearms charges – and a sentence of time-served! In other words, a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Danielle Perreira did even better – she got probation on a plea to the ultimate throwaway charge of the desperate federal prosecutor – misprision of felony.
Unfortunately for their co-defendant, Philbert Cole, he had already pled guilty. Moreover, in order to get a break in his sentencing, he agreed to cooperate with the Government and testify against Wright and Perreira. Whoops.
His cooperation now no longer needed thanks to the plea that was the consequence of the discovery violations, Cole was sentenced to 110 months in federal prison for his role in a the robberies. During Cole’s sentencing hearing, Judge Kent Dawson seemed dismayed. Apparently, the harsh sentence Cole, a lesser player than the now free Wright, was inappropriate.
The judge predicted that Wright’s freedom would be “short-lived”.
History will record that Judge Dawson was right.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, then U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said that he “…was still trying to understand what happened in (Judge) Gordon’s courtroom. He would not say whether possible missteps by prosecutors will lead to internal discipline or changes in the way the office turns over evidence to defendants”.
Looking – perhaps smacking- the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, Wright proceeded to publicly mock the prosecutors, and even tormented them via a Youtube video.
Brian Wright Goes A Bridge Too Far
Happily, the cause of justice would be vindicated, when Wright actually had the nerve to rob yet again, and was indicted anew.
This time, a new team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys – Lisa Cartier-Giroux, Alexandra Michael, and Nadia Ahmed, working in an office revamped by Acting U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson, convicted Wright of all 6 counts relating to two more jewelry store robberies.
And in his circus of a trial, Wright represented himself, claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy, masterminded by the FBI case agent. The jury rejected his fairy tale defense.
Bye bye, Brian
More Good News for Nevada
Wright’s conviction came on the heels of a guilty verdict in a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme case just a few weeks earlier.
And a new U.S. Attorney for Nevada was recently confirmed by the Senate. Nicholas A. Trutanich comes with a resume impressive enough to instill continued optimism in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He comes to the job from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, where he was Chief of Staff. Before that, he served in the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, where he supervised the Violent and Organized Crime Section.
Congratulations and a job well done to Ms. Eliseson as she moves on, and best of luck to Nicholas Trutanich as he moves in.
The NAC Takes A Stand
Congratulations are also due the Nevada Athletic Commission, which finally stood up for integrity by refusing to sanction PED repeat offender Jon Jones’ fight against Alexander Gustafason. This, a result of Jones’ latest drug-testing “abnormality”.
The bout was moved, at the 11th Hour, to Los Angeles, costing the UFC and Las Vegas a bundle, but the decision was the right thing to do – a rarity in Sin City.