A couple of Roanoke lawyers who jabbed at each other during closing arguments got the attention of a federal judge in U.S. v. Adams, but neither lawyer stepped over the line barring misconduct.
Defendant Robert Adams, a former sergeant in the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, was convicted of obstruction of justice and making a false statement for allegedly interfering with a potential witness and trying to mislead an FBI agent.
Of 20 defendants in the Henry County Sheriff’s Office corruption case, Adams was the only one who took his charges to a jury, according to the Roanoke Times.
At the end of the four-day jury trial, the prosecutor referred to the defense lawyer’s “sleazy tactics.”
Senior U.S. District Judge James Turk doubted the defendant had suffered any prejudice. After all, the defense lawyer had done his best Don Corleone impression and compared federal prosecutors and agents to the Mafia. Turk denied Adams’ post-trial motion.
Turk’s authority? He cited a 9th Circuit case where the lawyers traded similar insults: the prosecutor compared defense counsel “to both a magician and a squid,” while the defense counsel compared the prosecutor to the Wizard of Oz.
The 4th Circuit may get the last word, as Adams has appealed.