Angela Corey is the special prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case.
Yesterday, Alan Dershowitz alleged that Corey threatened to sue for libel based on Dershowitz’s criticisms of Corey’s handling of the Zimmerman case, particularly the decision to charge 2nd Degree murder and the alleged failure to disclose material facts in the Affidavit of Probable Cause submitted to the court.
Corey also is the lead prosecutor in the prosecution of a 12 year old, Cristian Fernandez, for murder under adult laws. The Fernandez case has generated much controversy, and resulted in a column by Ron Littlepage of the Florida Times Union on December 7, 2011, Angela Corey plays a two-faced game.
In response, on December 15, 2011, Corey sent a letter on state letterhead as an e-mail attachment to Frank Denton, Editor, and several other people, claiming that Corey had been libeled and defending her actions in the Fernandez case.
The letter is embedded at the bottom of this post, here is the opening paragraph (emphasis mine):
It is truly appalling that you would allow the opinion writer to enlist your publication to further expose his lack of knowledge and objectivity about the workings of the criminal justice system. In this case, as in numerous prior instances, he has shown his usual bias and rendered a wholly uninformed opinion. However, this time he has crossed the journalistic line and in the minds of many, he has committed libel. How sad that you and editorial staff were completely complicit with these actions. It is one thing to criticize a public official…some even believe it is expected. It is nothing short of libelous to call me or any lawyer in my office “unethical” when we are doing our jobs within the bounds of the law on an extremely complicated case. It grants no pardon that you were repeating what ”those in the legal community” told you. In fact, those lawyers are bound by rules of ethics which strictly prohibit them from saying that very thing. Having their friend publish it for them does not absolve them of their ethical obligations; it merely makes them cowards who have violated the Professional Code of Ethics….
The letter goes on with a vigorous defense by Corey of her actions in the Fernandez case. I’m not in a position to weigh the merits of whether Corey did anything wrong in the Fernandez case.
What is significant is that Corey reaches out with allegations of libel and the implied if not explicit threat of legal action towards critics. Corey thereby interjects her personal interests in her reputation into her public role as prosecutor with all the power of the state behind her.
Littlepage, in a column today, suggests that Corey has tried to intimidate other critics as well.
Someone in a position of authority in Florida needs to look into this situation, and determine whether Corey’s actions in confronting critics with implied if not explicit threats of libel suits have crossed a line.