Attorney: Gag order request in police pursuit case

CLEVELAND – Attorney Pat D'Angelo, who represents Cleveland police Patrolman Michael Brelo, filed a gag order Wednesday, saying that Cuyahoga County prosecutors have violated his client's right to a fair trial.

When asked for comment by WKYC's Tom Beres, D'Angelo declined, saying that to comment would be "hypocritical."

Brelo, 30, is out on bond after pleading not guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter, both first-degree felonies.

If found guilty, he faces six to 22 years in prison.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty filed his 21-page response later Thursday.

In part, it reads "...Prosecutor McGinty has stated only facts about this case that are in the public record, has not commented on the grand jury investigation in any substantive manner, and has made no statements regarding the CPPA, its President, its Counsel, or its membership, despite the personal attacks on the integrity of Prosecutor McGinty and the integrity of the grand jury system."

"For these reasons, the State does not believe a gag order on the Prosecutor or his Office would serve the interests of justice; especially in light of the statements made by Brelo, his attorney, and his organization (Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association) that have been intended to sway public opinion and influence the potential jury pool."

"There has been no restraint in public statements by Defendant's representatives in the months leading to the indictment, and since, no restraint has been shown. Rather, there is a concerted effort to continue to attempt to sway the jury and intimidate potential witnesses; including a show of uniformed officers en masse and in violation of CPD uniform policy to influence public opinion and intimidate those who seek to administer justice. If this Court gags the parties to the case, Attorney D'Angelo's second client, the CPPA, will be allowed to make unfettered public comments. If the State is unable to appropriately respond to such comments as needed, then the CPPA's comments will result in an unfair advantage to the Defendant Brelo. The motion by Defendant for gag order should be denied."

The case is being heard by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday.

In his filing, D'Angelo refers to comments made by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty while a Cuyahoga County grand jury was still hearing evidence regarding the Nov. 29, 2012 police pursuit and shooting that left Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell dead.

Of the 137 shots fired by 13 police officers when the two were stopped in their vehicle in East Cleveland, Brelo fired 49 of those shots.


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