Attorneys for Smith Bagley have renewed their complaints of misconduct against the prosecution team that handled the unsuccessful conspiracy and stock manipulation case against Bagley earlier this year, sources revealed yesterday.
A formal complaint was recently filed by Bagley attorneys at the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department, the sources said. o
The complaint charges that an FBI agent on the case had a conflict of interest because his family had been leasing a plant to the bankrupt firm Bagley once headed, sources said.
This same charge was brought up in February in an effort to halt the prosecution, but was unsuccessful.
But the recent complaint also alleges that the same FBI agent, Zachary Lowe, another agent and a prosecutor made misstatements to the grand jury, sources said. Lowe was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Michael Shaheen, counsel for the Office of Professional Responsibility, declined to confirm receipt of the complaint. His office automatically investigates charges of misconduct by department employes.
Disclosure of the complaint is the second controversial development in the case, which concluded with the acquittal of Bagley and four others in August.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the two U.S. attorneys based in North Carolina had accused the presiding judge in Bagley's trial, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Merhige, of "outrageous" legal behavior in his handling of the case.
The case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia W. Lemley, who wrote the letter. It was also signed by her immediate superior, U.S. Attorney H. M. Michaux.
Bagley, an heir to the R. J. Reynolds tobacco fortune and now a Washington socialite and businessman, was indicted by a federal grand jury in North Carolina.
Daniel A. Rezneck, an attorney for Bagley, issued a formal statement on the letter, calling Merhige "one of the most respected members of the federal judiciary.
"The Department of Justice should not seek to blame its mistakes on the courts" Rezneck said. "The department owes the court, Judge Merhige and the jury in this case an apology."