June 19, 2024


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Judge in Robert Morgan case orders evidentiary hearing | Business Local

Robert Morgan

Robert C. Morgan.

A U.S. District Court judge in Rochester ordered a weeklong evidentiary hearing be held in March or April to determine if government attorneys deliberately misrepresented the status of evidence collection and discovery during their mortgage fraud prosecution of Rochester developer Robert C. Morgan.

Judge Elizabeth C. Wolford this week rejected the arguments of federal prosecutors, who suggested she already had more than enough information to draw conclusions without wasting further time on what they said amounts to a “mini-trial, complete with document production and in-court testimony by prosecutors that would shed no new light on the evidence already before the Court.”

Instead, Wolford said there are still basic facts in dispute, particularly concerning the status of three laptops seized during an FBI raid on Morgan’s offices in 2018, a determination about a cellphone belonging to one of the defendants’ girlfriend, and inconsistencies in statements made by prosecutors to a magistrate judge in 2018.

“I believe there is a need for an evidentiary hearing on the disputes,” she said during a telephone status conference. “I believe the record is still unclear.”

Morgan’s attorneys had asked the judge to reconsider her prior decision to dismiss an earlier indictment because the government was taking too long but to allow prosecutors to refile the charges with a new indictment. The judge had asked both sides to submit letters laying out how a hearing would work and what it would accomplish.

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