FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Key Prosecution Witness Won’t Testify Against Former Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
Experts said the government will still be able to introduce the many hours of tape-recorded conversations but will lose testimony from Mody about unrecorded conversations she had with Jefferson, including one in the congressional dining room. It also opens the door for the defense to raise doubts about the dealings and Mody’s credibility.
Asked if the government’s failure to call Mody would compromise the ability of the prosecution to use the tapes and whether the defense would still be able to call Mody to the stand to try to challenge her, Carl Tobias, a professor of law at the University of Richmond, said, “I think yes to both. At least the defense will be able to undermine the strength of the tapes by arguing that the government did not call her.”
The defense was expected to portray her as a person who battled mental illness and relished intrigue and who, at the urging of FBI agents, pushed Jefferson to take cash from her to bribe the Nigerian vice president.
While the government engaged in a sting — having Mody deliver $100,000 in FBI cash in a transaction videotaped by the government — Jefferson’s legal team suggests the former congressman had no intention of turning the money over to the Nigerian vice president. It would be a crime to defraud Mody, but he isn’t accused of that in the Justice Department’s indictment.