A decision on whether or not members of a New Mexico gun dealer family will get a new trial on charges of lying on federal firearm purchase forms could happen as early as this week, Las Cruces Sun-News reported yesterday. Judge Robert C. Brack of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico indicated in yesterday’s hearing that he will make his decision “soon” following a day of testimony that revealed the extent of corruption a key law enforcement witness against the Reese family was under investigation for – a fact the prosecution withheld from the defense and the jury when it was asked to decide whose testimony during the trial was credible.
Defendants Rick and Terri Reese and son Ryin, New Mexico gun dealers jailed for allegedly knowingly selling guns to cartel members, and who have since had conspiracy and money laundering charges against them dismissed, filed a motion for a new trial after being convicted of, as Jeff Knox of the Firearms Coalition described it, “the comparatively minor charge of lying on gun sales forms — even though the lies they were convicted of were perpetrated by federal agents and the Reese’s crimes were that they ‘should have known’ that the agents were lying.” A second son, Remington Reese, was cleared of all charges.
“Attorneys for the Reeses … argued Monday that their clients deserve a new trial because the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not provide the defense with potentially damaging information about a key prosecution witness until after the trial ended,” ABQ Journal reported earlier this morning. “Defense attorneys contend the witness, Luna County sheriff’s detective Allen Batts, might have shaded his testimony to curry favor with federal prosecutors, since he has been the subject of federal investigation for the past decade.”
This was “critical to prosecutors” because it was his word against that of Terri Reese that the jury evidently sided with over the question of whether “she knew one of the weapons sold had ended up in Mexico.”
The extent of the alleged official corruption might also explain why the prosecution was so anxious to violate established Department of Justice policy when it asked to have yesterday’s hearing sealed from the public, a motion denied by Judge Brack. And those allegations are nothing short of stunning, as Tea Party Patriots of Luna County have documented in an exhaustive five-part detailing of yesterday’s proceedings, information now made public that would not have been possible had the government prevailed, and even now only available because passionately interested chroniclers other than “Authorized Journalists” were there to record and report it.
In Part One, the TPP documents how allegations of drug smuggling, ripping off drug dealers, human trafficking and other crimes by the witness (and others) were being investigated, and that this was withheld from the defense and the jury, in violation of Justice Department policy, training, and the law.
Part Two recounted defense questioning of an FBI agent, who confirmed more than one law enforcement officer was being investigated for corruption, that “the information first surfaced in 2004,” and that another special agent had been assigned to the case in 2009, something the defense was not aware of and that might have prompted them to file for a continuance.
In Part Three, the new agent assigned to the law enforcement corruption investigation was located and called to the stand. Essentially, the subject of the investigation was not cleared, but not prosecuted either, and assigned to work with the Southwest Border Task Force. The agent also affirmed he believed the suspect law enforcement officer had been tipped off.
Part Four records the defense questioning of Deputy Sheriff Allen Batts, who denied knowing he was under investigation and couldn’t recall and denied when asked about reporting a colleague to the FBI. The one thing he said he was certain about was that he was not biased when he testified in the Reese trial, claiming “he raised his right hand and told the truth.”
Part Five is the powerful, must-read summation, showing how the detective’s testimony contradicts that given by the FBI agents, how he said he could not recall things that have been established, how he continues to have a “fear motive, and how the case against the Reese family was based on the jury accepting his word – and specific details he evidently had no difficulty recalling — over that of Terri Reese, the one the evidence-withholding U.S. Attorney portrayed as being the liar.
The ordeal of the Reese family continues as a growing sense emerges among those watching the convolutions and misrepresentations and evidence of corruption at all levels — a suspicion among some and a certainty among others — that the wrong people have been put on trial, and that their scapegoating is being continued lest the entire official web of deceit unravels.
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