Recently, a federal case against an Orange County politician was dealt a blow when a portion of the prosecutors’ audio evidence was found to be missing.
The case arose out of the 2006 general election for California’s 47th House of Representatives district to represent Santa Ana between incumbent Loretta Sanchez and challenger Tan Duc Nguyen. During the campaign, a letter apparently from Nguyen went out to 14,000 residents in the district with Latino names. The letter, written in Spanish, warned the residents that if they were immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, voting in the election would result in their imprisonment and deportation.
The U.S. Department of Justice formally charged Nguyen with obstruction of justice for not being truthful in his interview with investigators about the matter. However, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the case questioned why Nguyen wasn’t charged with actually sending out the letter himself.
Most damning, there was a 40 minute gap in the two-hour audio interview with Nguyen about the letter. After the first 15 minutes, the tape recorder apparently stopped working, but no one noticed until 40 minutes later, when a new one was brought in. The judge pointed out that during his days as a deputy district attorney, it was standard procedure to have two recorders tape interviews simultaneously.
Serious doubt has been raised regarding the tapes’ accuracy due to the missing portion of the interview. The validity of the U.S. Attorney’s evidence will be challenged by the accused due to this issue. The judge himself said the missing portion of the recording makes proving the charge of obstruction of justice more difficult.
All persons accused of crimes need an aggressive criminal defense law firm willing to fight for them and uncover these types of possible errors in the prosecutors’ investigations. The Orange County criminal defense attorneys at the law firm of Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience handling those charged with criminal offenses. We know what to look for and we have the knowledge to get to the heart of the matter. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at 888-280-6839 or through our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.