Two days ago, several websites began reporting that United States Attorney Pat Fitzgerald accidentally released the names of at least twenty — yes, twenty! — confidential snitches witnesses in a government fraud case. The fraud allegedly involved $15 million dollars.
I wonder if those witnesses are feeling at all nervous right now.
It’s actually somewhat surprising how often this sort of thing happens. I’ve had people come to my office to hire me, bringing police reports where someone is listed as a “confidential witness” in many spots, but in another spot, the name is clearly visible. (This also happens when reports come directly to me, but in those cases, I’m required to ensure that the information on confidential informants is not revealed to my client.)
You gotta wonder: If the prosecution can get something so very important like protecting the lives of their witnesses wrong, could they get other things wrong, too? For example, just as they fail to properly examine the evidence they’re about to turn over to the press, or to anyone else, so that they don’t endanger the lives or property of confidential informants, could they also fail to properly examine the evidence as to whether they were charging the right person? Or even as to whether a crime had been committed at all?
Incidentally, on an almost different note: How come I can’t find this story on any of the mainstream media outlets, but it’s all over the Internet?