"Huge Conflict" Marred Tony Viola's federal trial
Prosecutor Dan Kasaris: "Huge Conflict" Marred Tony Viola's federal trial; Conflict affidavits remain sealed
"A huge conflict" of interest occurred at Tony Viola's federal trial when defendants who proceeded to trial were represented by attorneys in a joint defense who simultaneously represented multiple government informants, government witness Kathryn Clover as well as bankers portrayed as "victims" of mortgage fraud schemes, according recorded conversations between Kasaris and attorneys Brian and Leonard Carr. Kasaris prepared an affidavit for government witness Kathryn Clover stating she provided confidential information to attorneys for defendants who went to trial. Kasaris acted as an informal legal advisor to Clover, preparing an affidavit describing actual conflicts (USA v. Viola, Docket # 110), and assisting her gain scholarships to attend law school. Federal Prosecutor Mark Bennett stated that "the conflict of interest remained" during the trial (Docket # 201) but later, Bennett moved to have all records concerning the conflict of interest sealed. The Court granted Bennett's request and never undertook any conflict inquiry nor were conflict waivers from any party ever obtained.
Attorneys are not permitted to represent multiple parties in the same case with different legal interests because they may possess confidential information from one client that cannot be shared with the other client or used in court because it would damage the other client's legal interests. Noted expert on attorney ethics Richard Koblentz reviewed this matter and concluded that an actual conflict of interest existed and that Tony should be awarded a new federal trial.
Tony proved his innocence at a second trial on the same charges using evidence adverse to other defendants but remains imprisoned. Pending litigation seeks to unseal all records in Tony's case, Viola v. Warden, case # 18-1757, Third Circuit Court of Appeals. For additional information, contact Assistant Ohio Attorney General Dan Kasaris at (440) 305-4226 or Daniel.Kasaris@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Bennett can be reached at (216) 622-3878 or Mark.Bennett2@usdoj.gov and Richard Koblentz can be reached via www.Koblentz-Law.com.