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Argued September 27, 2001

On November 18, 1998, George Foreman III was convicted of first-degree (premeditated) murder while armed, *fn1 possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, *fn2 assault with a dangerous weapon, *fn3 and carrying a pistol without a license. *fn4 His first trial ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges. On appeal, Foreman contends that the trial court denied him a fair retrial by allowing the government to improperly introduce additional evidence at his second trial that was unfairly prejudicial. During oral argument, counsel for Foreman characterized the errors complained of as arising from the government’s use of “juicy bits of evidence searching for theories of admissibility.” Specifically, Foreman argues that the trial court: 1) erred by admitting testimony suggesting that a key witness had been threatened by Foreman’s girlfriend, Vanessa Nicholas, allowing the prosecution to bolster the witness’ credibility improperly; 2) erroneously admitted a false statement by Ms. Nicholas as an adoptive admission; 3) erred by not providing additional curative relief sua sponte when a detective testified that he was investigating others associated with Foreman’s place of employ; 4) committed reversible error when it failed to strike sua sponte testimony concerning additional ammunition; 5) abused its discretion by allowing the government to elicit testimony from a defense witness that she had previously stabbed Foreman; 6) abused its discretion by permitting cross-examination of a witness concerning a letter the witness had written to Foreman; and 7) abused its discretion by allowing the government to use a letter written by Foreman as impermissible character evidence. Foreman contends that the individual and/or cumulative impact of the above enumerated errors warrants reversal. We agree with the latter statement and reverse.

FACTUAL SUMMARY

 
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