U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton
A Border Patrol activist group is accusing U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of protecting the drug smuggler at the center of the Ramos-Compean case from facing perjury charges.
Andy Ramirez, chairman of the Friends of the Border Patrol, wants a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Sutton and trial prosecutor Debra Kanof for subornation of perjury for allowing drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila to take the stand under “false pretenses.”
Aldrete-Davila was arrested last week at the Mexican border for alleged drug offenses committed while under immunity to testify as the star witness in the case. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are in solitary confinement in federal prisons serving 11- and 12-year terms respectively for shooting Aldrete-Davila as he fled across the border on foot after bringing 750 pounds of marijuana across the Texas border.
Ramirez told WND he believes Aldrete-Davila’s arrest last week clearly indicates he violated the terms of his immunity.
“Sutton is still protecting Aldrete-Davila,” Ramirez told WND, “otherwise the drug smuggler would have been indicted for the first drug offense and for perjury.”
Ramirez argued that without immunity for the Feb. 17, 2005, incident involving Ramos and Compean, Aldrete-Davila could be prosecuted not only for that smuggling attempt but also for a later attempt while using a border pass card issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
Ramirez called for all the documents in the case to be unsealed.
“Why is Sutton still keeping a lot of records about Aldrete-Davila secret?” Ramirez asked. “Even the appellant filings in the Ramos and Compean case and the government’s responses to the appellant filings are under seal.”
Ramirez also points to “files about how Aldrete-Davila was found in Mexico and the contacts the federal government has with the Mexican consulate at all levels in this case.”
He asserted a special prosecutor to investigate Sutton and Kanof for subornation of perjury is justified.
“Sutton knew Aldrete-Davila had been implicated as the drug smuggler in the second October 2005 load,” Ramirez explained, “yet Sutton let Kanof put Aldrete-Davila on the stand without letting the jury know the full truth – that the prosecutors were told by Department of Homeland Security and Drug Enforcement Agency before the trial started that Aldrete-Davila had been implicated in a second load.”
At that point, Ramirez contended, Sutton should have called off the trial.
“As soon as Sutton got the DHS and DEA memos about the second load, he should have started investigating whether Aldrete-Davila violated the terms of his immunity, so Aldrete-Davila could have been prosecuted instead of being used as a witness against Ramos and Compean,” he said.
“Sutton was out to get Ramos and Compean from the beginning,” Ramirez charged.
“It’s pretty simple,” he argued. “Aldrete-Davila lied under oath on the stand and Sutton permitted Kanof to let that happen.”
Ramirez believes Sutton was guilty of prosecutorial misconduct, allowing Aldrete-Davila “to take the stand, knowing exactly the lies he was going to tell.”
“It’s time for a special prosecutor to be appointed,” he said. “Sutton is an overzealous prosecutor, just like Mike Nifong in the Duke University case, and he needs to be fully investigated.”
The key to the prosecution’s case was its assertion that Ramos and Compean were rogue cops who fired on an unarmed man. But Ramirez argues that since the smuggler got away, there is “no irrefutable evidence at the scene” that he was unarmed.
“Aldrete-Davila was the only witness who could testify he was unarmed,” Ramirez said.
“All Sutton and Kanof ever had was the lying word of an admitted drug smuggler who we now know did commit additional drug offenses before the trial ever began,” he emphasized.
In April, as WND reported, the federal government obtained an indictment against Cipriano Ortiz-Hernandez, who operated a safe house to which Aldrete-Davila allegedly delivered the October 2005 load. But authorities still did not pursue action against Aldrete-Davila.
“When Sutton and Kanof were told their star witness Davila was implicated by Cipriano Ortiz-Hernandez, the stash house operator, in the second load, they must have panicked,” Ramirez said.
“Aldrete-Davila committed perjury on at the trial,” he contended, “and Sutton and Kanof protected the perjury by begging the judge to seal from the jury and the public any word of the second load.”
Ramirez insisted Sutton and Kanof “were only interested in seeing Ramos and Compean go to jail, not in serving justice.”
“To protect the prosecution case, Sutton and Kanof were willing to suborn perjury, if that’s what it took to win,” he said. “This was not due process of law. Sutton reduced an American courtroom to the type of Third World kangaroo court we would expect to find in Mexico.”
WND first reported Davila’s second load Feb. 1, based on claims by Ramirez and reliable sources close to the case. The incident was confirmed when a trial transcript finally was released. The transcript showed a sidebar discussion involving the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys in which the defense pleaded the information was vital to their ability to challenge, before the jury, Davila’s credibility as a witness.
The transcript documents that Sutton and Kanof knew prior to the trial that Aldrete-Davila had been implicated in the second load.
WND also reported a long list of lies Aldrete-Davila told under oath, including the claim he committed a single drug offense because he was under duress to get money to buy medicine for his sick mother after he lost his commercial driver’s license in Mexico.
Davila also claimed he was unfamiliar with marijuana, and he did not recognize the large bundles in the van were wrapped in the typical manner the Mexican drug cartels package the drug for smuggling into the U.S.
In addition, Davila testified he didn’t smell marijuana or notice any odor in the van as he drove to elude the Border Patrol through Fabens, Texas, in his dash for the border.
WND reported last week Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Ted Poe, R-Texas, have called for a congressional investigation of the prosecution in the Ramos-Compean case, with Poe also suggesting the appointment of a special prosecutor.