New appeal claims federal prosecutor hid evidence proving innocence of prominent African American entrepreneur Tyrone Gilliams

Former University of Penn basketball captain appealing ten-year sentence after undisclosed evidence surfaces: appeal charges Brady Rule violated
(PR NewsChannel) / February 18, 2014 / NEW YORK  

Today in the Second Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, Tyrone Gilliams filed a motion revealing that an affidavit hidden from the defense by prosecutor David Massey clearly shows Gilliams’ innocence. Gilliams, a prominent Philadelphia based entrepreneur, philanthropist and event promoter did not devise the scheme to defraud investors for which he was sentenced to ten years in prison last fall according to the affidavit.   

Massey, who joined a prestigious private New York firm in December specializing in white-collar crime, counted the Gilliams case as one of his most significant victories.

The affidavit from the alleged victim David Parlin demonstrates that the treasury strips scheme  – for which Gilliams was convicted —  was actually entered into with Vassilis Morfopoulos and confirms that Gilliams never met Parlin.

“It is very disturbing that the prosecutors would knowingly withhold evidence and attribute the treasury strip investment scheme to my client when they knew that Parlin and Morfopoulos had discussed the same type of treasury strips investment at least four months before Morfopoulos met my client” said Warren R. Hamilton, Gilliams’ attorney and a protégé of civil rights leader Cecil B. Moore. “The Brady rule mandates that the prosecutor’s goal is to seek justice in fair trials, not merely to win convictions by any means. The Supreme Court ruled that due process required prosecutors to disclose to criminal defendants any exculpatory evidence they asked for that was likely to affect a conviction or sentence.”  

Exculpatory evidence is evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial that could lead to a not guilty verdict.

Gilliams and a codefendant, Everette Scott Jr., were convicted of one count of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud for allegedly soliciting more than 5 million dollars and not investing it as promised.  The affidavit contradicts that accusation and confirms that Parlin never met with Mr. Gilliams.   The motion also charges that Gilliams’ 6th amendment rights, which grants defendants the right to face their accuser, were violated and that Parlin never appeared in court. Despite that, Federal Judge Deborah Batts ordered that Gilliams pay $4 million in restitution to Parlin.

Gilliams, an ordained minister and philanthropist, was also castigated by the courts for funding the successful charity event, “Joy to the World,” featuring music mogul P. Diddy and scores of  leading political and civic figures that fed over 5000 hungry Philadelphians and brought attention to homelessness, hunger and poverty.

“Mr. Gilliams has always had a strong commitment to give back to the community and it is tragic that he is being penalized partially for a stellar event that helped thousands of families who were hungry and brought awareness to an important issue, “stated  Barbara Ricco, former Philadelphia high school principal  and one of Gilliams’ many community supporters.

Many civil liberties organizations are calling for strengthening the Brady rule through open files reform, which would require the opening of prosecutors’ files to defendants, as a general rule.   In May of last year, the New York Times editorialized that “it might seem obvious that prosecutors with any sense of fairness would inform a defendant’s lawyer of evidence that could be favorable to the defendant’s case. But in fact, this principle, known as the Brady rule, has been restricted by subsequent rulings of the court and has been severely weakened by a near complete lack of punishment for prosecutors who flout the rule.”

The Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder were accused in a USA Today investigation in 2010 of not adequately penalizing federal prosecutors who broke the Brady Rule and characterizing prosecutorial misconduct as mistakes.

“We cannot discount the role of race in this case either,” stated Hamilton. “Not only is the sentence disproportionate to the amount of money involved.  One has to wonder if the prosecutors would have so blatantly violated the Brady rule if my client were white.  It’s sad to see that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent quest for equality and protection under the Constitution of our great country is still unfulfilled.”  

Warren R. Hamilton
Phone: (267) 235-9481

Douglas Greene
Phone: (817) 622-8806

Direct link:

SOURCE:  Law Offices of Warren R. Hamilton

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