Benjamin Wey ()
The government’s case against financier Benjamin Wey may be on the verge of collapse.
In a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office earlier this week requested a one-week adjournment from an Aug. 2 deadline.
Prosecutors, the letter said, “are awaiting a decision from the Office of the Solicitor General … on whether the government will appeal the court’s June 14, 2017, order suppressing evidence in the case.”
Signed by assistant U.S. attorney Brooke Cucinella, the letter stated that, if the government opted not to appeal, “we will likely dismiss the indictment.”
The request was granted Thursday.
The aforementioned order was a significant ruling by Nathan that eviscerated the government’s search warrant process in the case. In a move she herself called an “extraordinary remedy” that represented the “only appropriate recourse,” Nathan ordered the suppression of material gathered at both Wey’s offices and apartment after determining the government had been granted “essentially limitless” warrants.
When the order came down, observers saw a crisis forming in the government’s case: Considering the volume of material scooped up during the search and seizure, not only was it all but impossible for any of that material to be introduced, the potential “fruit of the poisonous tree” taint could spread to every part of the government’s case.
The Aug. 2 deadline was for the government to provide the documents it intended to present in its case against Wey ahead of the Oct. 2 scheduled start of trial. The letter noted that it expected to hear from the Solicitor General’s Office by Aug. 4, after which the U.S. Attorney’s Office expects to make a decision.
“We don’t know what the government is going to do, but whatever they do, we’ll be prepared,” said Wey’s attorney, Haynes and Boone partner David Siegal.