MORE DEFENSE attorneys in the upcoming trial of six ex-narcotics cops charged with conspiring to rob alleged drug dealers argued before a judge yesterday that the federal government's indictment is tainted by alleged victims who had perjured themselves.
Michael Diamondstein, who represents ex-cop John Speiser, first contended earlier this week that all charges should be tossed out against his client because the main witness against Speiser had committed perjury.
But before Diamondstein could argue his motion yesterday before U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno, another attorney, Gregory Pagano, who represents ex-cop Perry Betts, stood up and contended that another alleged victim in the indictment had also perjured himself when he testified before the investigating grand jury.
Then, Jeffrey Miller, attorney for the accused ringleader of the ex-narcs, Thomas Liciardello, contended that another alleged victim had lied to the grand jury.
The government's July 29 indictment against the six cops listed 22 alleged victims, each mentioned in a separate "episode."
In recent days, the feds filed motions to withdraw three of those "episodes" from the indictment. Robreno granted those motions, so now the indictment contains 19 alleged victims or "episodes."
Speiser was named in three of the 22 episodes, including one now withdrawn. Diamondstein contends that with the two remaining episodes against his client, no evidence warrants Speiser's being charged in the alleged racketeering conspiracy.
Diamondstein vigorously argued that the "government acted in a reckless disregard for the truth" when it based its indictment on people like Christian Cirigliano, one of the alleged victims whose case is now withdrawn.
The lawyer contended that Cirigliano - the only alleged victim who had named Speiser before the investigating grand jury - had perjured himself because he gave different statements to the grand jury, in a federal lawsuit he filed, and in testimony in his own 2012 Common Pleas jury trial on drug charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek argued that defense attorneys were "tossing around" the word "perjury" as if that were a matter of fact. "I couldn't disagree more," he said, adding that there have been inconsistent statements, but "no perjury."
The judge is expected to rule today on Diamondstein's motion to quash the indictment in relation to Speiser. He told other attorneys who made similar calls for a dismissal of the indictment to file written briefs by Monday.
Attorneys yesterday finished picking jurors for the trial, to begin March 30.