Feb 3 2019
07:35 am

tapes of a drunken Hazelwood cursing and slinging racist and sexist slurs

"The recordings contained some of the vilest words in the English language, inviting the jurors to detest Hazelwood as a racist and misogynist and to infer that these odious characteristics made it more likely that he committed fraud," [Hazelwood's lawyer, Shon] Hopwood wrote. "A fair trial was impossible under these circumstances."

Not only did the tapes have nothing to do with the fraud accusations, the appeal argues, but U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier — who's black — showed an open bias against Hazelwood by letting the tapes be played at his trial

Hazelwood's initial appeal was denied. Hazelwood's new lawyers claimed "defendant’s trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance to him before and during trial."

The new team took aim at [Hazelwood's initial trial lawyer, Rusty] Hardin, saying he botched Hazelwood’s trial in his strategy to depict Hazelwood as a hard-working, jet-setting executive too busy to head up a fraud scheme and too savvy a businessman to jeopardize the company or his pay check... Federal prosecutors Trey Hamilton and David Lewen used that strategy as legal justification for playing what became known in the case as the “racist recordings.”

Georgetown University Law Center professor Shon Hopwood, a one-time bank robber who first acted as a “jailhouse lawyer” while in federal prison and later earned a law degree, is Hazelwood's new lawyer.

“Manuel rebates,” a nickname testimony has shown Pilot Flying J’s sales executives used to refer to the fraud, was a method of paying trucking firms discounts on fuel, and a nod to the fact that trucking firms targeted for fraud were often owned by minorities, including Hispanics."

Current judge a minority and Pilot execs accused of targeting minorities.

They want a new trial and a new judge.

R. Neal's picture

The News Sentinel omits the

The News Sentinel omits the fact that the fraud targeted minority owned trucking companies according to an FBI affadavit. That should have been enough to admit the tapes as evidence of senior management's racist tendencies, which is totally relevant to the fraud.

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