Prosecutor Angela Corey under fire for tactics in Zimmerman trial

According to Corey's predecessor as state attorney, local lawyers think that their clients might get bad treatment. Photo: Associated Press

FLORIDA, July 16, 2013 — Angela Corey, the highly controversial Jacksonville-based special prosecutor appointed to try George Zimmerman by Governor Rick Scott, is under increased scrutiny since the verdict in the case.

On Saturday night, an all-female six-member jury in the central Florida port city of Sanford acquitted neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.


SEE RELATED: Trayvon Martin was racially profiled, but not by George Zimmerman


Scott acted on the advice of state Attorney General Pam Bondi.

She has much to explain insofar as Corey is concerned.

“It was Pam Bondi, who in March of 2012 used her position as AG to convince Governor Rick Scott to appoint her friend, and Attorney General 2010 campaign chair, Angela Corey, to prosecute George Zimmerman,” said Sundance, blogger at The Conservative Treehouse, a widely-read website which has covered the Martin shooting’s aftermath detailedly. 

He continued: “The goal was appeasement of the institutional race-baiting class of Seminole County NAACP board member, and Trayvon family attorney Natalie Jackson, along with her friends Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks who were chasing the financial rewards for Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, TrayParents™.


SEE RELATED: Zimmerman trial could further damage the Bill of Rights


Corey’s apparently extra-legal tactics in the case have generated a groundswell of public concern. On Friday, she fired one of her office’s employees, Ben Kruidbos, after he testified in court about materials not being given to George Zimmerman’s defense team. 

According to right-of-center pundit Judson Phillips, Kruidbos “recovered images from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone. These images were in addition to other information that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had recovered. Ben Kruidbos sought the advice of an attorney after he became concerned that prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda had not turned those images over to the defense, and he was concerned he might have legal liability for that. 

“That attorney turned the images over to the defense. On June 6, Kruidbos testified at a hearing where defense lawyers sought sanctions against Corey and her office for refusing to turn over exculpatory materials. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion.”

Veteran attorney and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz believes that Corey committed criminal acts against Zimmerman.


SEE RELATED: Rev. Pfleger: Zimmerman verdict is ‘Emmett Till all over again’


“I think there were violations of civil rights and civil liberties — by the prosecutor,” he said in a Sunday interview with Newsmax. “The prosecutor sent this case to a judge, and willfully, deliberately, and in my view criminally withheld exculpatory evidence.”

“They denied the judge the right to see pictures that showed Zimmerman with his nose broken and his head bashed in,” he explained. “The prosecution should be investigated for civil rights violations, and civil liberty violations.”

Dershowitz later stated that Corey “possess(ed) photographs that would definitely show a judge that this was not an appropriate case for second-degree murder. She deliberately withheld and suppressed those photographs, refused to show them to the judge, got the judge to rule erroneously this was a second-degree murder case. 

“That violated a whole range of ethical, professional, and legal obligations that prosecutors have. Moreover, they withheld other evidence in the course of the pretrial and trial proceedings, as has been documented by the defense team.”

Dershowitz is hardly alone in his criticism of Corey. On her Sunday night Fox News program, former New York State Judge Jeanine Pirro made no hesitation of stating her views. 

“Almost every legal expert on both sides of the aisle agree … in contrast to Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, that evidence presented by the prosecutors was insufficient to convict, which begs the question of whether the charges against George Zimmerman were proper or a capitulation to public pressure by the Governor and that appointed State’s Attorney who continues to say that the public had a right to watch this trial as though it’s theater,” Pirro said. “As though criminal justice and evidence is about theater for the public’s interest. 

“Still pending, though: Why did Special Prosecutor Angela Corey file charges in the first place? Why did she not present this case to a grand jury scheduled for April 10th of 2012, but instead file charges on her own the very next day, canceling the grand jury? Why did we not see the picture of George Zimmerman’s injuries until after the charges were filed? Why did she not hand over seemingly exculpatory material as required by the law?”

Now, Corey’s local critics reportedly fear criticizing her as they believe that their clients might receive poor treatment.

Scott Johnson of Jacksonville’s WJXT writes that he “spoke to former State Attorney Harry Shorstein by phone. Corey replaced Shorstein as state attorney. He said, “A lot of us are very concerned and very upset” by Corey’s handling of the Zimmerman trial, and other scandals such as the firing of a state IT official who she said leaked information.

“But Shorstein wouldn’t say much more, saying he’s, “concerned things will be held against clients” if he speaks out too strongly, and told Channel 4 that other local attorneys feel that way.”

That really does say it all.


Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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