Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi To Take Over Defense of Charlie White

Former Marion County
Prosecutor Carl Brizzi
WRTV is reporting that former Marion County Prosecutor Charlie White is taking over the defense of Secretary of State Charlie White.  White had been represented by noted criminal defense attorney Dennis Zahn.

This is a very wise move.  While Zahn is no doubt a fine criminal defense attorney, he didn't seem to have a public relations strategy.   As a result, White has been pounded relentlessly in the media, only making a comeback recently when he was exonerated by the Indiana Recount Commission.

Zahn's approach is typical of most defense attorneys.  The approach is to address the case in a passive manner, not making any public defense of the client for fear of making statements that could help the prosecution.   While that is a good strategy with most individuals, it's not a good strategy for a public figure like White.  When it comes to a public figure, that person's reputation is as important as anything that could happen in the criminal case.

Five of the seven felony charges against White, are based on facts the Commission, including a former Democratic judge, found to be lacking under a much lower burden of proof than will be the case in the criminal case.  White needs to have a defense counsel who will publicly and aggressively defend White against the charges and attack the prosecution for continuing to press baseless charges.  Brizzi knows the media, he knows the importance of one's reputation and he understands the criminal process.  While I have criticized Brizzi in the past for various matters, the fact is he is the perfect person to defend White.

13 comments:

Society of Socrates said...

Charlie White should have resigned months ago. Bizzi is a good trial atty, but his ego may get in the way. While Mr. White needs to keep his mouth shut. His witness will face the cross and what comes out may not be in his favor due to the fact he has lived out of a "suit case" and has many keys to several places for him to lay his head at night.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Society, White's witnesses faced cross examination before the Commission and they sailed through without a problem. The burden of proof in the case before the Commission was a simple preponderance of the evidence. The Democrats didn't come close to winning that.

Five of the seven felony charges are on the exact same issues that were before the Commission. How in the world are the prosecutors going to convice the jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that White didn't reside at his ex-wife's house when that issue was lost big time before the Commission?

The bottom line there is zero direct evidence to support White living at the condo instead of the ex-wife's house. White meanwhile has four witnesses offering direct testimony he was staying at the ex-wife's house. Game, set and Match.

The prosecutors' change of getting a conviction on any of the five charges are slim and none, mostly none.

Jeff Cox said...

Let's see if I get this straight:

Carl Brizzi is close friends with Charlie White.

White's ex-wife had to testify in front of the grand jury as to White's actions, meaning she could get into some trouble for her actions with White. She needed someone to protect her interests.

White's defense depends on his ex-wife putting forth a particular story as to his actions. She could be the chief witness for or against White.

Brizzi represented White's ex-wife. At no cost to her.

Sure enough, White's ex-wife put forth exactly the story White needs for his defense. And, sure enough, it matches White's own story exactly.

Now, after representing someone who could be the chief witness for or against his good friend Charlie White, Brizzi is now representing Charlie White.

Cato said...

I agree with Paul.

Charlie needs the establishment to stand up for him.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I'm at a loss why Zahn had not aggressively pursued dismissal of several of those charges against White. Unless the media is not reporting on them, I'm aware of no motions Zahn had made to that effect. I can't believe that a judge would ever allow some of those charges to go to trial.

Ben said...

Paul, your continued kissing Whites ass is really starting to get old. For someone who has spent his career attacking the corruption in our government, I find it disgusting that your so far up White ass that you cant see the light of day

Paul K. Ogden said...

Jeff,

I think you're referring to a conflict of interest. That is a waivable conflict of interest...unlike the Barnes & Thornburg conflict of interest representing FSSA against IBM in a lawsuit that could involve going after ACS its current client. That's a nonwaivable conflict.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Ben, where is the "corruption in government" you're talking about? No one is accusing White of any wrongdoing in office.

I have a problem with selective prosecution of the law (why aren't they going after Lugar, Bayh, etc.) and going after someone long after the supposed facts behind the charges have been discredited.

There is only circumstantial evidence supporting the charges that form the basis of five of the seven charges. On the other side is direct evidence of four witnesses. The odds of successfully getting criminal prosecution of White under a beyond a reasonable doubt standard are extremely long. Yet they are pursuing the charges anyway. It's a political prosecution, nothing more, nothing less.

Paul K. Ogden said...

GRW said: "I'm at a loss why Zahn had not aggressively pursued dismissal of several of those charges against White. Unless the media is not reporting on them, I'm aware of no motions Zahn had made to that effect. I can't believe that a judge would ever allow some of those charges to go to trial."

Bingo. The theft charge should be dismissed outright. That charge is not legally correct.

Even though prosecutors have the authority to pursue pretty baseless charges with respect to the others (the probable cause requirement is so low), I think aggressively pursuing dismissal would send a message to the prosecutors and public about the weakness of the charges. Instead, White's success at the Commission was followed up by going on the defensive again.

Ben said...

Sorry Paul, sometimes you have to take off that Lawyer hat and look at ethics and morals, something of which White nor Brizzi have an ounce of.

Cato said...

Ben, seriously, what corrupt act has White done?

This scary police-state, political-retaliation case is keeping me out of the voting booth, which, I suppose was its intent.

One man, one vote? Not so in Indiana.

Jeff Cox said...

Indeed, the conflict of interest is waivable. I've seen it happen a lot. In Lake County. It works like this:

Big Fish is charged with crime.
Prosecutors need Little Fish to flip and testify against Big Fish.
Little Fish needs attorney.
Attorney Friend of Big Fish offers to represent Little Fish. At no charge.
Little Fish hires Attorney Friend.
Attorney Friend also represents Big Fish.
Little Fish doesn't flip.
Big Fish gets off with help of Attorney Friend.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, Did you catch the latest news updates. The media, which is obviously grossly biased against White, got it completely wrong. Zahn is still White's counsel; Brizzi has joined the defense team as co-counsel according to WRTV. That's quite different than how the media played it. I don't know why someone didn't immediately correct them. This story broke yesterday.