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United States v. Hamilton

September 29, 2008

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JOHN J. HAMILTON, JR. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Linares, District Judge

OPINION

The United States of America ("Government") filed an Indictment against defendants John J. Hamilton Jr. ("Hamilton" or "Defendant") and Vincent "Vinny" Baker ("Baker") on December 12, 2005 and followed up with a Superceding Indictment on November 6, 2006. The Superceding Indictment charged defendants Hamilton and Baker with conspiracy and attempted extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), (Counts One and Two, respectively) and bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666 (Count Three). Additionally, the Government set out charges against defendant Hamilton of making false statements to a federal agent in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2 (Count Five) and attempted witness tampering in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512(b)(3) and 2 (Count Six). On September 7, 2007, defendant Baker entered into a plea agreement with the Government. Hamilton proceeded to trial on November 13, 2007, and on November 21, 2007, this Court declared a mistrial. The second trial against Mr. Hamilton regarding the above-referenced counts is scheduled to proceed on September 29, 2008.

On May 13, 2008, the Government filed several pre-trial motions pertaining to Hamilton's upcoming retrial. Defendant filed opposition on August 22, 2008, and the Government replied on August 26, 2008. This Court resolved many of the issues in a September 22, 2008 Order (Docket No. 107), but reserved as to the Government's motion to preclude testimony regarding Hamilton's two offers to take a polygraph test (Docket No. 90). Having reviewed the submissions and having heard oral argument, the Court grants in part and denies in part the Government's motion.

I. Facts

During Hamilton's first trial, defense counsel elicited the following testimony from Government witness and FBI Agent Bruce Kamerman.

Q: Okay. Now, when you spoke to Mr. Hamilton, did the subject of a polygraph ever come up?

Mr. Eicher (Ass't United States Attorney): Objection.

The Court: No, I will allow it.

A: At one portion of the interview, Mr. Baker -- Mr. Hamilton denied any wrongdoing and stated that he would be willing to take a polygraph.

Q: Okay. Did you give him one.

A: I am not a -- I am not trained in conducting polygraph tests, so, no, I did not give him a polygraph.

Q: Did anybody?

A: I am unaware of a polygraph being given.

Mr. Eicher: I renew my objection and move to strike the whole line of questioning on the grounds that ...


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