Friday, October 26, 2007

Government wants to try Bowman separately

It appears the full brunt of the federal government's bank and credit card case is going to brought against Rep. John Bowman, D-St. Louis, and when he come to trial he may be the only defendant.
Only five of the original 17 defendants remain, with most of them entering guilty pleas, including the latest, Robert Baker, who pleaded guilty to three counts today in U. S. District Court in St. Louis.
In documents filed today, the government asked that the cases of the five remaining defendants be severed into three cases, and that the trial date, which is scheduled for Nov. 26, be pushed back with only Robert Connor's trial being held at the scheduled time.
Assistant U. S. Attorney Matthew Schelp asked that the trials of Max Davis, Joanna Davis, and Monica Gholson be moved to December, and that Bowman's trial be held in January. Schelp outlined his reasons for the request in the court documents:

The government intends to introduce statements and admissions from all the defendants listed above. A defendant may be prejudiced by the admission in evidence against a co-defendant of a statement or confession made by the co-defendant. The confession of a co-defendant who exercises his or her Fifth Amendment right not to testify is not admissible against the defendant because the defendant has no opportunity to cross-examine the co-defendant. In Bruton v. United States, the Supreme Court held that the admission of a co-defendant’s confession at a joint trial
violates the defendant’s right to confrontation if the confession also incriminates the defendant unless the co-defendant testifies. Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 126 (1968). The codefendant’s confession must be excluded even when the co-defendant’s confession merely corroborates the defendant’s own confession. Cruz v. N.Y., 481 U.S. 186, 193 (1987). An instruction that the jury should disregard the confession as evidence against the defendant is insufficient to render it admissible, unless the confession is redacted to eliminate any references to the existence or someone whom the jury would know to be the defendant.

The veteran St. Louis representative was indicted in January by a federal grand jury, which said Bowman and his co-defendants agreed to a scheme in which Bank of America Vice President Robert Conner took a bank lending program which provided money to small businesses by offering a $25,000 credit limit. Conner then arranged with the other defendants to apply for the loans, often with fictitious companies, then give Conner kickbacks ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 on each loan.
According to the indictment, Conner approved $1,213,970 in fraudulent loans.

According to the indictment, Conner approved $1,213,970 in fraudulent loans.
The indictment says Bowman became involved in the scheme in January 2006 during a meeting with Conner in the Bank of America branch in Chesterfield, submitting a fraudulent credit application under the name "Bowman Consulting."
On Jan. 30, 2006, the indictment said, Bowman used a "fraudulent credit card to obtain a $4,050 cash advance at a Bank of America Plaza branch in St. Louis. From Jan. 25, 2006, to Feb. 3, 2006, Bowman used the bank VISA card to buy "things of value in excess of $1,000."
If convicted of the crimes, Bowman could be sentenced to as much as 40 years in prison.

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