Prosecution in Snyder corruption case pushes for answers on emails | Crime and Courts


HAMMOND — The prosecutors in Portage Mayor James Snyder’s federal corruption case say in their latest filing that the court has sufficient information to make a decision to move the case forward.

In the filing Monday in U.S. District Court, they also accuse Snyder of a “fishing expedition” serving no relevant purpose in demanding the government answer numerous questions regarding the email review process.

The government response is the latest filing in the battle between Snyder’s defense team and the U.S. attorney’s office over whether two to three dozen emails seized by the government during the investigation are covered by attorney/client privilege. Snyder’s attorney, Indianapolis-based Jackie M. Bennett, has claimed the emails they consider deal with work product and/or legal strategy slipped through the prosecution’s review process and were unfairly seen by investigators and prosecutors, violating Snyder’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

Snyder, who was indicted in November 2016, is pleading not guilty to bribery charges related to city towing vendor and public works contracts, along with tax evasion charges related to his private business. His trial is set for June 4.

Snyder has asked the indictments be dropped because of the alleged violation or that the present prosecuting team be dismissed.

“Critically, defendant’s new claims do not change the two questions this court need answer to resolve the defendant’s motion,” reads the latest filing, adding those questions are whether the emails are privileged and, even if they are, has Snyder been sufficiently prejudiced to warrant his requested dismissal.

“Defendant has failed to show that any of the disputed documents reveal defense counsel’s thoughts or strategies,” according to the brief.

“Defendant filed versions of these exhibits publicly, raising the question whether he has waived any privilege and protection he previously contended they deserve,” the prosecution continues.

The brief also contends that Snyder has “repeated his demand that the government answer numerous interrogatories regarding its review process.” That, prosecutors say, is a “fishing expedition.”

At a hearing in March, a federal judge said he needed more information to decide whether government investigators mishandled email evidence seized from Snyder. At that time, the judge said he did not see a “smoking gun” in Snyder’s claims. Since then, both sides have filed briefs supporting their claims.

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