‘Grossly inappropriate behavior’: Transcripts of assistant DA show her refusing over a dozen gun cases on Mardi Gras
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Newly obtained transcripts detail the courtroom conversations had between Assistant District Attorney Emily Maw and over a dozen people suspected of illegally carrying firearms on Mardi Gras.
“I mean it was throw me something mister and she was throwing ‘get out of jail free’ cards 15 times to gun cases,” says Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “These transcripts prove that she committed prosecutorial misconduct in my opinion. I don’t understand how she’s still employed because any prosecutor that did this should lose their job.”
When Keaton Manghave appeared before a Magistrate Judge, arrested for carrying a machine gun, Emily Maw in the transcript said, “A machine gun is a pretty serious weapon. I just want to make sure, Mr. Manghave is from Tennessee. Is that right?”
The defendant says, “Yes, Ma’am.”
Maw says, “Is he planning to go back to Tennessee?”
The Public Defender says, “yes.”
Maw says, “Okay. So as long as you’re okay going back without the machine gun, then we’ll refuse the charges.”
“This is an individual with a prior record that she is saying, ‘as long as you surrender your weapon and go back to Tennessee, you get out of jail for free,’” says Goyeneche. “That’s a felony offense, a federal offense, and she refused charges and this guy is gone now.”
“The machine gun guy could have gotten 10 years in federal court, and they let all of these guys go home,” says FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.
In the case of Frank Harvey, Maw admitted, “There was probable cause (for the arrest) as a result of a visible bulge.”
She even says, “I’m really concerned of how many bullets you had with you. I don’t think it’s a good idea at all.”
She goes on to say, “But I’m gonna, as long as you’re okay to forfeit your weapon—you’re not going home with it back to Texas—we’ll refuse the charges in this case.”
The Defendant, Harvey, says “okay,” and the Magistrate Judge responds, “Well played, Mr. Harvey.”
“They were almost making fun of it in the court proceeding. It got to be sort of a banter back and forth between the Magistrate Commissioner and Mrs. Maw,” says Goyeneche.
Maw didn’t take much time to refuse Damien Brumfield’s case.
The Commissioner said his name and Maw said, “We’re refusing this,” with no further explanation.
The Commissioner then tells Maw, “You robbed me of my academic exercise about the facts.”
“I think the Commissioner probably recognized how extraordinary this was because the Commissioner is realizing she doesn’t have a police report. She hadn’t reviewed the body camera footage, and this was essentially a Mardi Gras Day special,” says Goyeneche.
Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams ordered a review of Maw’s decision to refuse the 15 gun cases on Mardi Gras. Williams said Maw deviated from standard practice.
We asked for an update on the D.A.’s review of the cases, but we were only provided with the original statement from the office about the refusals.
“We’re still waiting over a week - 10 days later to see what the District Attorney’s office is going to do about this,” says Goyeneche.
Williams hired Maw, the former director of Innocence Project New Orleans, to head the Civil Rights Division of his office two years ago. Maw is one of the most senior members of Williams’ staff.
“What happened in Magistrate Court is enough, in my opinion, based on my opinion as a prosecutor and looking at this for several decades, to warrant termination,” says Goyeneche.
“She said she didn’t have evidence. Well, she didn’t wait for the report to read it or to talk to the policeman to get the evidence before she cut them loose. It was grossly inappropriate behavior by the Assistant DA handling these cases,” says Raspanti.
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