Advertisement

Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

Attorney wants lid on news released in FBI agent wreck

The attorney for FBI Agent David Farrall, accused of DUI manslaughter in the wrong-way crash on Interstate 95 that killed two Lauderhill men, has filed a motion to prevent the Broward prosecutor's office from leaking information to the media.

In a motion filed on Tuesday, Bruce Udolf, who represents Farrall, asked Broward Circuit Judge Marc Gold to order compliance with fair trial and free press rules. He said his client's "due process rights to a fair trial have been irreparably harmed."

Specifically, Udolf asked the judge to prevent the State Attorney's Office from doing anything to "impair the right of the accused to fair and impartial treatment."

State law governing trial publicity says a lawyer should make no statements that might materially prejudice a legal proceeding and should prevent people assisting with the case from making prejudicial statements.

Farrall, 36, of Coconut Creek, has been charged with two counts each of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and driving with an unlawfully high blood alcohol level in the Nov. 23 crash that killed Maurice Williams, 23, and his brother Craig Chambers, 19. Farrall is free on $75,000 bail and under house arrest.

The Florida Highway Patrol's initial news release blamed Williams for the crash.

"Nearly every day since the date of this tragedy, there have been prominently featured news accounts in both the print and broadcast media in which various factual representations, purportedly from law enforcement sources, have been published," wrote Udolf, a former federal prosecutor.

The "relentless news reports contain a host of other inflammatory and/or inaccurate disclosures, too numerous to list here," Udolf wrote.

He did, however, mention news stories that revealed Farrall's illegally high blood alcohol level _ information that appeared in the Sun-Sentinel before the FHP released it _ and statements made by Farrall to FHP traffic homicide investigators that could "arguably" be incriminating.

A hearing on Udolf's motion is scheduled for Feb. 10.

"We're looking at the motion now to see how it affects us," said Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward State Attorney's Office.

An FHP internal inquiry found that physical evidence at the crash site was misinterpreted by investigators and should have been corrected quickly, but that there was no wrongdoing, no coverup and no favoritism shown to Farrall.

That report was challenged by a state legislator and community groups who asked for a state-level investigation into a possible coverup engineered by the FBI and possible illegal racial profiling of Williams and Chambers.

Gov. Jeb Bush has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct just such an investigation.

Al Dennis, an FDLE spokesman, said on Tuesday that the investigation had barely begun and that there was no scheduled date for its completion.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement