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Defense Says Terror Prosecutor ‘Overwhelmed,’ Denies Obstructed Justice

Posted Oct 30, 2007 10:22 AM CDT
By Molly McDonough

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A former federal prosecutor accused of obstruction of justice in a high-profile terrorism investigation four years ago declined to testify this week.

Prosecutors say Richard Convertino and former U.S. Embassy security agent Ray Smith hid evidence in a 2003 case against four north African men accused of being members of a Detroit area sleeper cell. The case was widely hailed as an administration victory in the post 9/11 war on terror, but fell apart amid accusations of prosecutorial misconduct.

The defense told the court Monday that Convertino's failure to turn over evidence to the defense at the time was an honest mistake by an "overwhelmed" prosecutor, the Detroit News reports.

Neither Convertino nor Smith took the stand.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the trial of Convertino wrapped up Monday, with closing statements expected today.

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