Man accused of staging crashes is shot and killed; indictment suggests more charges coming
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A New Orleans man accused of staging crashes with 18-wheeler trucks was shot and killed last Tuesday, just four days after his indictment.
The FBI and the New Orleans Police Department are conducting a joint investigation to determine whether the slain man, 54-year-old Cornelius Garrison, was killed to stymie a prosecution that has so far led to the indictment of 28 defendants, report NOLA.com (here and here) and 4WWL.
“Garrison was lining up to be, perhaps, the government’s most valuable witness,” 4WWL reported. “In the eight-defendant indictment announced Friday, Garrison is described as a ringleader who dealt directly with attorneys to orchestrate staged accident[s] with 18-wheel trucks in order to file fraudulent lawsuits for big paydays.”
A press release on his indictment is here.
U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser and federal public defender Claude Kelly, who represented Garrison, refused to tell reporters whether Garrison had been cooperating in the prosecutions.
The indictments had suggested that more charges might be pending against local lawyers and possibly medical professionals, according to NOLA.com.
Court records didn’t name the lawyers said to be working with Garrison. Rather, the indictment referred to “Co-conspirator A” and “Attorney B.”
News reports said Co-conspirator A appeared to refer to a disbarred lawyer who now works as a medical financier. The financier pays a portion of the medical bills for an injured person in exchange for more money if there is a lawsuit payout.
The stories said Attorney B likely referred to a stuntwoman-turned-lawyer who often represented plaintiffs in the allegedly staged crashes.
No suspects have been named in Garrison’s death.