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Clifton Anthony was convicted in 1996 of crack cocaine distribution while armed and several handgun offenses, even though evidence at trial showed D.C. police officers may have fabricated the gun charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Carroll also twice misrepresented the testimony of a key witness during her closing. It then took a decade before the D.C. Court of Appeals reached a decision in a June 7 opinion, written by Senior Judge Frank Schwelb. The unanimous ruling, which called the case “a very troubling one,” reversed all of the handgun convictions and the armed enhancement in his drug-dealing conviction. Although Carroll’s misstatement of the evidence was “presumably unintentional,” the court noted “the gravity of a solemn but false assertion to the jury by a representative of the government.” The court also found that the evidence on the firearm charges was “problematic” and “not especially compelling,” in part because of “discrepancies and handwritten additions to the [police] records relating to the weapon.” During her closing, Carroll twice claimed a civilian witness saw an officer standing over Anthony holding a gun that was not the officer’s service revolver, when the witness actually testified she hadn’t seen any other gun. Defense attorney Frances D’Antuono, who also handled Anthony’s appeal, immediately objected and called for a mistrial, which was denied by D.C. Superior Court Judge William Jackson. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is not appealing the ruling, but the office filed a motion last week to amend the opinion over the specific wording of Carroll’s misstatements. Anthony has served his prison sentence and was paroled three or four years ago, says D’Antuono, who filed many continuances in the decade-long appeal for reasons including a fire that destroyed her condominium, preparation for two back-to-back homicide trials, and efforts to care for her dying 81-year-old mother in Rhode Island.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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