Former D.C. nightclub owner Antoine Jones will remain behind bars pending a fourth trial on charges that he funneled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the Washington area from Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on Tuesday rejected Jones’s request to be released from prison, ruling that he had failed to put forward any evidence “that he does not pose a danger to the community.”
Huvelle declared a mistrial in March after jurors deadlocked on conspiracy charges against Jones. His previous conviction and life sentence were overturned by the Supreme Court in a landmark privacy case that threw out GPS evidence against him. An earlier trial also ended in a hung jury.
In her opinion, Huvelle sided with federal prosecutors who argued that Jones’s release posed “a significant risk of witness tampering.”
Jones had argued for his release in court papers to allow him to hire an experienced lawyer and to “study and do proper legal research.” Huvelle pointed out in her opinion that Jones previously had two experienced legal teams, but chose to represent himself during his most recent trial. Such logistical concerns, she said, “have no relevance” to whether Jones should be detained.
Jones has been in jail since his arrest in 2005, when law enforcement officials seized 97 kilograms of cocaine from a Maryland stash house that they have tried to link directly to him.