Monday, February 4, 2013

Fry's Attorney Wants to Question Vennes at His Client's Trial

As if last week's sudden turn of events weren't surprising enough, today's hearing took a bizarre twist.

I walked over to the Federal courthouse this afternoon expecting to watch Frank Vennes's co-defendant James Fry plead guilty, but that was not the case as James Fry was not in attendance. Fry's attorney Joe Friedberg asked for a continuance in light of the changed landscape. Friedberg claimed the Government was being unfair "right up to the due process line".

Friedberg claimed the Government's case implied Fry had knowledge of the Ponzi scheme at the heart of PCI.

Freidberg insisted on being able to question Vennes before the jury about the charges against his client.

Friedberg rejected the Government's contention that their witnesses could supply the necesary testimony regarding the specific charges against Fry saying such testimony was hearsay and that only Vennes had "a monopoly of knowledge".

In  particular, Friedberg pointed to the Government's evidence regarding how Fry and Vennes allegedly used  Vennes's quest for a presidential pardon to lull potential investors concerns. Friedberg said:
"Vennes told my client Michele Bachmann supported his pardon to the White House" 
Friedberg was also concerned that Vennes would still be covered by Fifth Amendment protections against giving testimony that could incriminate himself.

The Government asked for a short continuance of a few weeks, Friedberg asked for months.

The judge said he'd rule on a continuance this week.

Clearly, this trial has entered a new phase... stay tuned.