INGERSOLL "FISHING" FOR INFORMATION?
In three tersely worded motions filed late Friday, September 26, federal prosecutors responded to September 12 motions filed on behalf of Steven and Deborah Ingersoll.
Let's break down the government's opposition, motion by motion.
DISCOVERY: CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS, EXCULPATORY INFORMATION
The Ingersolls asked the court to order the "production of confidential informants and exculpatory information." In support of its opposition, the claims it has complied, and will continue to comply, with its discovery obligations in this case.
And, with a sharp verbal pimp slap, the government described Steven and Deborah Ingersoll’s discovery motion as premised upon "an assortment of self-serving irrelevant and inaccurate statements and erroneous conclusions."
The government reserved extra special scorn for Ingersoll's claim of shadowy "enemies", calling the allegation "simply irrelevant and inappropriately inserted into a discovery motion, apparently to garner some sympathy for the defendants."
In his motion, Ingersoll asserted that various recordings "made by a government witness were only produced because of
repeated demands by defense counsel". Again, the government termed that characterization as "inaccurate". Ingersoll's allegation that government witness Tim Hunnicutt engaged in “shockingly
unethical conduct” was dubbed by the government "an erroneous and unfounded conclusion."
The government again revealed it "voluntarily disclosed grand
jury transcripts long before it was obligated by law", using that fact to refute the claims made by the Ingersolls in their joint discovery motion.
The Ingersolls also attempted to invoke Rovario v. United States,
353 U.S. 53 (1957), supposedly to obtain access to the identities of government informants. The government noted in its opposition that the Ingersolls "failed to recognize United States v. Perkins, in which the Sixth Circuit noted post-Rovario that the government is not obligated to reveal before trial the identities of informants who will testify at trial."
Ironically, Steven and Deborah Ingersoll acknowledged in their motion that they "know the identity of a government informant" (likely Tim Hunnicutt) and made sure to name that person by name in their joint motion.
The government revealed the Ingersolls have already been given
Hunnicutt-related discovery containing copies of recordings, copies of correspondence, a PowerPoint presentation and his sworn grand jury testimony.
Finally, the government noted that Steven and Deborah Ingersoll claimed in their motion that they "are entitled to discovery of all agents’ reports of interviews."
The government noted "it is well-established that agents’ reports of interviews that are not adopted or approved by the witness are not subject to disclosure."
BILL OF PARTICULARS
Steven Ingersoll was charged in an April 10 indictment with an assortment of financial crimes. In count 1, he is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud. In count 2, he is charged with conspiracy to obstruct the IRS. In counts 3, 4 and 5, he is charged with wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud. Counts 5 and 6 charge Steven Ingersoll with attempted tax evasion offenses.
Steven Ingersoll has made a motion for a "bill of particulars" regarding counts 6 and 7 of that indictment. The purposes of a bill of particulars are to inform the defendant of the nature of the charge against him with sufficient precision to enable him to prepare for trial, to avoid or minimize the danger of surprise at the time of trial, and to enable him to plea his acquittal or conviction in bar of another prosecution for the same offense when the indictment itself is too vague and indefinite for such purposes.
In its response, the government revealed that Steven Ingersoll has already been given "more than 3,100 numbered pages of discovery, plus additional discovery such as recordings and other records that are not numbered." The information includes materials that the government obtained from accountants and tax preparers who did accounting and tax preparation work for Steven Ingersoll and the entities to which he is related, records from his various bank accounts, and his own tax returns, among other things.
The government motion states that Ingersoll's motion for a bill of particulars is an attempt "to fish for information regarding the government’s theory of prosecution, asking how the government intends to prove its case rather than what evidence will be used in the process."
This government supports its theory by citing Ingersoll's "otherwise inexplicable pursuit of information regarding a net worth theory of prosecution, despite acknowledging in his motion that the government has told him that the attempted tax evasion charges in counts 6 and 7 are not based on a net worth theory."
The motion reveals that in addition to retaining the services of two criminal defense attorneys, (one of whom-Martin Crandall-is an extremely experienced trial attorney and the other-Jan Geht-was formerly an attorney for the Tax Division of the Department of Justice) Ingersoll has also retained the services of a forensic accounting firm. The government asserts that Steven Ingersoll "has both the information and the type of legal and accounting assistance needed to enable him to prepare to defend against the charges in counts 6 and 7 of the indictment."
FUTURE EVIDENTIARY MOTIONS
Steven Ingersoll also filed a motion seeking permission to file "unspecified evidentiary motions for unspecified relief at some future but undefined time."
The government opposition reveals it is generally understood that motions "in limine" (motions made before the trial begins) are not subject to the motion filing deadline established by the court.
The government explained that motions in limine often deal with evidentiary matters "that the court opts to defer resolving until the trial is in progress and the context of the motion is better understood." If permission "were needed to file a motion in limine after the motion filing deadline had passed", the “blank check” authority sought by Ingersoll would not appear to be an appropriate way to obtain that permission.
On the other hand, motions to "suppress" are evidentiary motions that can and should be made before the motion filing deadline established by the court. The government opposition reveals that "no such motion has been filed by Steven Ingersoll."
The government response indicates that if Ingersoll "finds it necessary to file a motion of that or similar nature in the future, he can seek the court’s permission to file his motion at that time. If the court grants the motion to file an evidentiary motion at that juncture, then Steven Ingersoll will have the opportunity to pursue the substantive motion that he has not found reason to file to date. He should not, however, be given a blank check to file an unspecified motion for unspecified relief at an unspecified future time by virtue of his current motion."
District Judge Thomas L. Ludington has ordered Steven and Deborah Ingersoll, and co-defendants Roy C. Bradley, Sr. and Gayle Ingersoll to appear at a motion hearing October 8 at 2:00pm.