Legal Ethics

Appeals Court: Ex-Prosecutor Can't Be Sued Over His Work on Terror Case

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A former federal prosecutor who was tried and acquitted of conspiring to hide evidence in a terrorism case cannot be sued civilly over his work on the case by one of the defendants, a federal appeals court has held.

Reversing a Detroit federal judge’s ruling in favor of plaintiff Karim Koubriti on a motion to dismiss, the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today held that Richard Convertino is immune from civil liability because of his prosecutorial role in the case, the Associated Press reports in a brief breaking news article.

Koubriti had argued that Convertino’s conduct was outside the bounds of the absolute immunity ordinarily granted to prosecutors because of Convertino’s claimed improper investigative role in the case. However, because the damage that Koubriti asserted because of Convertino’s alleged investigative misconduct was improperly withheld evidence, and prosecutors are immune from civil claims over improperly withheld evidence, the case cannot proceed, the 6th Circuit explains in its written opinion (PDF).

Koubriti was convicted in 2003 of conspiring to aid terrorists, but his conviction later was reversed after the U.S. Department of Justice said the prosecution had withheld evidence in the case.

Earlier related coverage: “Ex-Prosecutor Acquitted at Trial Loses Bid for Attorney Fees” “Ex-Prosecutor Seeks Contempt for Reporter Shielding Sources”

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