Advertisement
  1. News

Prosecutors who charged Michael Drejka push back against effort to disqualify them

Assistant State Attorneys Scott Rosenwasser, left, and Fred Schaub confer during a bond hearing for Michael Drejka at the County Justice Center. Drejka is charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Markeis McGlockton. [Times (2018)]
Published Jun. 25

Prosecutors pushed back Monday against a court filing in which Clearwater parking lot shooter Michael Drejka asked a judge to disqualify them from the case.

Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorneys Fred Schaub and Scott Rosenwasser filed a court document calling the defense team's request for a special prosecutor misleading and without legal basis.

"Defendant's motion is, simply stated, grandstanding," they wrote, "and an attempt to place the defendant's inaccurate and self-serving version of events before the court and public without having to be cross-examined and tested for accuracy."

Drejka's lawyers filed the longshot motion Wednesday, the bulk of which said that the State Attorney's Office gave into political pressure when it charged Drejka with manslaughter about three weeks after he shot and killed Markeis McGlockton on July 19.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Parking lot shooter Michael Drejka asks judge to disqualify prosecutors who charged him

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri declined to arrest Drejka, saying his agency was precluded from doing so by Florida's stand-your-ground law. The decision sparked outrage, drawing politicians and civil rights leaders to Clearwater to call for Drejka's arrest.

Prominent civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump signed on to represent McGlockton's girlfriend, bringing with him the publicity he received from his work representing the parents of Trayvon Martin. Martin was killed in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

RECENT COVERAGE: Michael Drejka's stand-your-ground defense will go to a jury, not a judge

One of Drejka's lawyers, John Trevena, argued that the furor created a national spectacle and painted his client in an unfair light. Trevena said prosecutors were bowing to what the called the "Crump hype machine" when they charged Drejka.

"Mr. Trevena's personal opinion is self-serving, purely speculative and completely devoid of any factual basis," prosecutors wrote.

It's up to Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone to decide whether to grant Drejka's request. The case is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 19.

Contact Kathryn Varn at kvarn@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Council member John Dingfelder says he won't stop leaving the dais if it means getting the answers he needs. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Three Tampa City Council members, including Chairman Luis Viera, have addressed Dingfelder’s tendency to wander during meetings. But the council veteran says he’s doing his job.
  2. President Donald Trump speaking during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS  |  AP
    “I was willing to do this for free,” Trump said Monday, comparing it to his decision not to take his $400,000 presidential salary.“
  3. 18 minutes ago• Business
    The “nakation” — aka clothing-optional tourism — is becoming one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry. Shirking that outer layer at nude beaches and resorts and even on clothing-optional cruises has become the vacation choice du jour for hundreds of thousands of free-spirited Americans. CALEB JONES, AP PHOTO/CALEB JONES  |  AP Photo/Caleb Jones
    It’s certainly bringing in big bucks in Florida, where the state’s tourism department reports that nude recreation made a $7.4 billion economic impact in the Sunshine State last year.
  4.  Designed by Tara McCarty
    And more Pinellas news.
  5. Among the speakers at Big Brothers, Big Sisters news conference in Tampa on Monday were police Officer Joel McKee and his Bigs in Blue match Princeton, a student at Pizzo Elementary. TONY MARRERO  |  Tony Marrero
    The money will help the non-profit create more mentoring matches across the country and here in Tampa Bay.
  6. 24 minutes ago• Gradebook
    Hillsborough High School Senior Anthony Allen with principal Gary Brady, Principal U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine Sullivan, and schools superintendent Jeff Eakins. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    Hillsborough accepts its share of a federal grant.
  7. Canadian Prime Minister Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau holds his son Hadrien as he waits to vote in Montreal, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. SEAN KILPATRICK  |  AP
    Polls indicate Trudeau’s Liberal Party could lose to the rival Conservatives, or perhaps win but still fail to get a majority of seats in Parliament.
  8. Miami-Dade school superintendent Alberto Carvalho offered condolences to the teen's family in a tweet posted on Sunday, and asked that anyone with information about Saturday night's shooting contact investigators. Miami-Dade Police Department/ Facebook
    Neighbors told detectives that teens dove to the ground when the gunshots rang out.
  9. A Bird electric scooter is seen along the Tampa Riverwalk in May in Tampa. The New Port Richey City Council is considering allowing scooter sales and rentals. CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    City staff members recommend a vote for scooter sales, but against scooter rentals.
  10. Investigators counted 95 mice, 60 rats, 23 baby rats, 14 birds, 12 rabbits, 10 flying opossums, nine guinea pigs, seven bearded dragons, four dogs, four hamsters, two cats, two geckos, a tortoise, and a hedgehog. Another guinea pig was dead. City Of Edgewater Police Department/Facebook
    Officers said the children, ages 8, 9, and 10, were living with three adults amid rotting food, animal feces, and urine.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement