Friday, April 18, 2008

Lou Dobbs Upset with Prosecutor Johnny Sutton

Sutton. The Prosecutor in the case of border agents Ramos and Compian. Dobbs directly took Sutton on, charging he withheld facts from the jury which might have led the jury to a different judgement.

After Sutton swept away the concerns, Dobbs just about shirked in frustration.

Net the Truth Online

Lou Dobbs Tonight
Aired April 17, 2008

New developments tonight in a case that's been called one of the worst miscarriages of justice in this country. A Mexican illegal alien drug smuggler pleading guilty to drug smuggling exactly 15 months after two U.S. Border Patrol agents who shot that smuggler started their harsh prison sentences. A leading congressional supporter of those agents, Congressman Ted Poe and the U.S. prosecutor who led the case against the, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, join me...

...DOBBS: You and the judge decided to secure the fact and seal the fact that this man, while testifying against two U.S. federal law enforcement agents, was committing crimes against the United States. Why?

SUTTON: Yeah, what you're referring to is what been come to know as the "October load." Basically, during the trial, the defense attorneys wanted to confront Aldrete with that. My prosecutors -- my career prosecutors objected to that, made arguments, obviously the jury knew that Aldrete was a drug dealer, they knew he was an illegal alien, so they had all that information in front of them...

DOBBS: Whoa, Mr. Sutton, your prosecutors said that he had one load, was al low-level drug smuggler, and was in no way involved in a drug smuggling "ring."

SUTTON: Yeah, no, my prosecutors never said that. You know, that might have come up on cross-examination.

DOBBS: Yes, it did.

SUTTON: But, I guess what I'd say to you is that those are rulings that are made in court every day. There's a lot of stuff that we wanted to get in evidence that we weren't allowed to and a lot of things the defense attorneys want to talk about, they were not...


DOBBS: One of the things I'd like to ask you is, as a prosecutor of two U.S. federal agents, how in the world you would be comfortable sealing evidence that would, in point of fact, undermine the testimony, the credibility and the trustworthiness of your own witness and how you and your prosecutors could take the word of such a person against two sworn agents of the United States government?

SUTTON: That's a great question. I think it's important that your listeners understand the facts. And when we say "sealed," it was sealed so the criminals, the cartel and the public, wouldn't know that we were investigating Aldrete, because obviously, when we heard that he may have run a second load, we wanted to hold him accountable for that.

Now, of course, the defense attorneys knew all about it, the judge knew all about it, my prosecutors did and that is what they were arguing at trial. Some people said there's a cover-up, that we suppressed that evidence. We argue about it, the defense attorneys knew about it. They obviously wanted to bring it in, my prosecutors thought it wasn't relevant. The jury knew the guy was a dope dealer, they knew he was an illegal alien and the judge ruled in our favor and that's the central issue on the appeal. It's in front of the Appellate Courts, now, and at some point in the future we'll find out whether that was a mistake.

DOBBS: Well, as you know, Mr. Sutton, I think it was a huge mistake. And I think it was, absolutely, frankly, outside the bounds to do that to two sworn agents of the United States government. The idea that Aldrete Davila sued the United States government for his injuries, while, with your immunity, his blessing across the border, he was continuing to transport drugs while United States agents, Ramos and Compean, were under trial -- in trial for this, for these -- for a crime against this man, I mean, I just cannot get there. I cannot even imagine what went through your mind.

SUTTON: Well, let me help you and your listeners get there, because, I mean, I guess, what I was -- obviously, Aldrete's a criminal, I mean, he's a dope dealer, he's a illegal alien, he's the kind of guy I prosecute day in and day out. The problem is, just because he's a criminal, just because he commits crimes doesn't mean that prosecutors look the other way when federal agents shoot unarmed people, cover it up, destroy evidence, file false reports and lie about it.

DOBBS: Your only evidence against the man is this testimony of a drug dealer who's violating U.S. law by crossing the border, violating U.S. law repeatedly by bringing death dealing drugs into this country. I mean, my gosh, he's not exactly what I'd call a choir boy.

SUTTON: And I'm not calling him one. I mean, Lou, the hilarious part about this is that -- I'm in the business...

DOBBS: I'm waiting for something hilarious about it. SUTTON: I'm in the business of putting types like Aldrete in prison and we made a good step today, he was convicted of all accounts. Since Compean and Ramos were tried, my prosecutors have put over -- prosecuted over 10,000 defendants, 90 percent are drugs and illegal immigrants, that's what we do...

DOBBS: You and I have talked for some number of years about this. You and I, both, understand the facts of this case. But surely, surely, Mr. Sutton, you understand that the distinction here is you went after two U.S. law enforcement agents on the word of a scumbag.

SUTTON: No, we didn't, Lou and let me tell you, I mean, the most damning...

DOBBS: Well, who else...

SUTTON: The most damning evidence against agents Compean and Ramos were their lies, were their cover-ups, was the conspiracy entered into with other agents to destroy evidence, that killed their credibility in front of the jury. Both agents testified in front of the jury -- everybody knew that Aldrete was a doper, everybody knew that he was, you know, a scumbag mule. Those agents weren't credible, it was a lot of evidence besides Aldrete...

DOBBS: On cross-examination, did the jury understand that Davila was, in point of fact, a professional dug dealer and smuggler and a total scumbag?

SUTTON: They certainly knew that he...

DOBBS: Did you portray him as a one-time offender, a low-level -- with low-level involvement in that drug distribution ring?

SUTTON: I mean, I guess when I say a trial is, the jury knew that he had ran a huge load of dope. They knew he was an illegal alien, they knew that that kind of stuff happens on the border, that he was a bad guy, they knew that he was the kind of guy we'd put in prison. And you know, I've never defended Aldrete, I mean, I'm happy, today, that he's convicted and...

DOBBS: Well, you did. You did defend him. You kept the reality of his record from that jury making a determination about the fate of two U.S. law enforcement officers.

SUTTON: Well, first of all, he had no record. DEA had no record...

DOBBS: I didn't say he wasn't good at what he did, Mr. Sutton. I didn't say he wasn't good at what he did, did I?

SUTTON: Well, what we put in front of the jury the information that was admissible at the trial. And that's the way we run. I mean, there's a lot of stuff that I would have loved to have gotten in evidence against Compean and Ramos, but I couldn't. The judge said, it's not relevant, it's highly prejudicial. That's why we have trials to make these determinations. The jury knew this guy was a dope deal. And the hilarious -- the sick -- the sad part...

DOBBS: Do you think your prosecution will be upheld by the Appellate Court?

SUTTON: You know, I have no idea, that's up to those courts. I know the Fifth Circuit is very experienced judges and there's no way to predict what they'll do. I'm sure that they'll tell us in their good time.

DOBBS: All right. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, thank you for being here.

SUTTON: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Up next, I'll be joined by Congressman Ted Poe, he's one leading the fight to free Ramos and Compean from prison.

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