United States District Court, District of Columbia
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Debra L. Long-Doyle, Steven B. Wasserman, U.S. Attorney, Washington, DC, for United States of America.
David Walker Bos, Federal Public Defender for D.C., Joanne Roney Hepworth, Hepworth & Pendry, Joseph Roll Conte, Law Offices of J.R. Conte, P.L.L.C., Rudolph Acree, Washington, DC, for Defendants.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, District Judge.
Presently before the Court is the Government's  Motion in Limine to Preclude Cross-Examination of Specific Instances of Uncharged Misconduct by a Government Cooperator. The Government seeks to preclude the Defendants from cross-examining two potential witnesses regarding (1) general accusations of past drug trafficking by the witnesses; and/or (2) specific instances of uncharged drug trafficking that purportedly occurred before the conspiracy at issue in this case. For the reasons stated below, upon consideration of the pleadings  and the relevant legal authorities, the Government's  Motion in Limine to Preclude Cross-Examination of Specific Instances of Uncharged Misconduct by a Government Cooperator is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
During the final pretrial status hearing on September 21, 2012, Defendant Edwards raised an issue relating to the Government's Giglio disclosures. The Defendant indicated that in the Government's Giglio letters concerning purported co-conspirators Willie Shawn Moorer and Nathaniel Harrison, the Government indicated that although Moorer and Harrison were never charged, they were believed to have engaged in drug trafficking with Defendant Edwards at some point in the 1990s. Defendant Edwards sought a ruling from the Court permitting the Defendant to cross-examine Moorer and Harrison regarding their prior drug trafficking activities generally, without opening the door to the Government eliciting the fact that at least some of that activity involved Defendant Edwards. The Court ordered the Government to produce the relevant 302s regarding the relevant prior drug trafficking activity, and instructed the Defendant to file any motions in limine regarding this issue by no later than September 24, 2012. 9/21/12 Order, ECF No. , at 1.
In lieu of a motion, on September 24, Defendant Edwards submitted a Notice of Nonfiling, indicating that he would not file a motion " based on the government's representations ... that it did not intend to solicit at trial the substance of Moorer's or Harrison's statements as described in the
government's Giglio disclosure letter." Def.'s Notice of Non-Filing at 1. The Defendant asserted in a footnote that the Government's representation " is subject to the Court's limitation on Edwards that any cross-examination on the subject be limited to general questions of Moorer's or Harrison's prior drug dealing." Id. at 1 n. 1. Recognizing that the Court had not ruled on the admissibility of the evidence or the proper scope of cross-examination, the Government filed a response to the Defendant's Notice. See generally Gov't's Resp. to Notice of Non-Filing, ECF No. . The parties subsequently exchanged a number of pleadings, and narrowed the dispute to the question of whether the Defendants can cross-examine Moorer and/or Harrison regarding their prior drug trafficking activity under the theory of " reverse 404(b)" evidence,  and to what extent such questioning would open the door for the Government to elicit Defendant Edwards' purported involvement in the witnesses' earlier drug trafficking activities.
Although the precise nature of the information the Defendants might address during cross-examination has not been disclosed, based on the parties' pleadings, it appears at least the following would be potential ...