Utah judge suppresses interviews for prosecutorial misconduct

In the well known case United States v. Claud R. “Rick” Koerber, Utah federal judge Clark Waddoups recently granted the defendant’s motion to suppress statements made in two interviews with the federal government, along with the fruits of those interviews.

Judge Waddoups found a violation of Mr. Koerber’s Due Process rights in “a lead prosecutor’s instructions to federal investigators to initiate pre-indictment ex parte contact with the target of their investigation who prosecutors know is represented by counsel, and to conduct multiple interviews of that person, including through use of questions scripted by the prosecutors and designed to influence the target to waive attorney-client privilege and disclose information about potential trial strategy such as reliance on an ‘advice of counsel’ defense.”

In short: the prosecutors knew that Mr. Koerber was represented by counsel (several counsel, in fact), but still had him interviewed without counsel present, including questioning written by the prosecutor. This was a violation of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibit an attorney from contacting a person known to be represented by counsel. The lengthy ruling is here: https://ecf.utd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?209cr0302-360

This is the second time that federal prosecutors have been found to have engaged in questionable conduct in the Koerber case. Stay tuned…