Attorney Kim Corral Files Petition to Vacate Tony Viola’s Federal Conviction; Yale University Appellate Clinic Finalizing Appellate Brief about “Missing” Evidence

  • Ms. Corral cites Perjured and Coerced witness testimony at trial established by recently obtained emails and sworn affidavits
  • Prosecutors Mark Bennett and Dan Kasaris caught in lies about computers in the government’s possession that prosecutors claimed were “lost”
  • Bennett used perjured testimony of Kathryn Clover and claimed she was a “fact witness” when she was actually in a sexual relationship with Prosecutor Dan Kasaris and a paid paralegal
  • Yale Appellate Clinic Appointment follows FBI and Justice Department admissions of Making False Statements Under Oath about Evidence and FBI court filings that say it was unaware of its own records for a decade
  • Exculpatory Evidence in Tony’s case may impact 1,000 Task Force Prosecutions


Cleveland, Ohio – March 1, 2023 – announced today that Attorney Kimberly Kendall Corral filed a petition to vacate Tony Viola’s federal conviction, based on the destruction of exculpatory evidence by prosecutors, use of coerced testimony and the undisclosed use of an “advocate witness” at trial.  In federal court, Mark Bennett falsely informed jurors that government witness Kathryn Clover was a “fact witness” testifying based on her personal knowledge of events, but Clover was actually a paid paralegal working inside the prosecutor’s office, and in a romantic relationship with state prosecutor Daniel Kasaris, In re: Anthony Viola, Case No. 23-3050, Sixth Circuit.

In related litigation, the Yale Law School Appellate Clinic and the Law Firm of Wiggin and Dana are representing Tony Viola on a Pro Bono basis in litigation concerning missing evidence, voice recordings made by deceased whistleblower Dawn Pasela and documents shifted from the US Attorney’s Office in Cleveland to a multi-jurisdictional Task Force location before criminal trials, Viola v. Department of Justice, et. al., Case No. 22-2186, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Documents in support of Ms. Corral’s petition to vacate the federal conviction were obtained in the related litigation concerning the suppression of evidence and failure to produce voice recordings prior to Viola’s federal trial.  Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is about to rule on the legality of the government’s shifting of exculpatory evidence between jurisdictions and locations prior to trial.


Tony Viola was tried twice on identical charges by a federally funded Mortgage Fraud Task Force on allegations he duped banks, including JP Morgan Chase, into making 'no money down' mortgage loans.  Following a conviction in federal court, Tony proved his innocence at a second trial in state court, on identical charges, prosecuted by the same prosecution team, using evidence prosecutors said didn't exist, but that was provided by Task Force Office Manager, Dawn Pasela.  Ms. Pasela offered to testify at the second trial about prosecutorial misconduct, but Prosecutors Mark Bennett and Dan Kasaris threatened Ms. Pasela with indictment and federal prison if she appeared. Ms. Pasela never testified and was found dead in her apartment shortly after her scheduled testimony, but no investigation into her death has ever taken place.

In 2015, Tony filed suit against the Justice Department and the Task Force, alleging that prosecutors Bennett and Kasaris, along with FBI Agent Jeff Kassouf, used the structure of the Task Force to shift exculpatory evidence between locations and jurisdictions to hide it before his first trial.  The DOJ and Task Force responded that the Task Force was a purely local endeavor, and the federal government was not responsible to search for evidence stored there.  Those statements were contradicted by the government’s own documents, which showed that the FBI repeatedly forwarded federal evidence to the Task Force location, and that the Task Force was federally funded and staffed by multiple federal agencies.  Because the government’s own documents contradicted the government’s statements in its court pleadings, The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the Justice Department's contention that evidence relocated to a Federal-State Task Force is not subject to disclosure by the government.  In 2019, the Justice Department was ordered to conduct a new search for records, which resulted in both the FBI and Justice Department admitting that each make false statements about evidence in Tony’s case, Viola v. Department of Justice, et. al., case number 15-cv-242, Western District of Pennsylvania.

In 2020, the FBI claimed it was unaware of evidence in its own record system for over a decade and stated in a court filing “The FBI investigated why the records were not initially processed and found that, when it had initially searched for and gathered records, it had inadvertently failed to obtain all portions of the responsive records. … The FBI intends to process the additional records” totaling nearly 10,000 pages “expeditiously,” Docket number 99, Page 2. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Colville informed the federal judiciary that the Justice Department also made false statements in sworn affidavits and discovered additional evidence it previously failed to produce, and that he “regrets those inaccuracies and the resulting inconvenience.”

In 2022, Task Force Chairman Donald Cleland stated under oath that he directed Ms. Pasela to remove hard drives from the Task Force location for storage at her home.  These hard drives, containing evidence in over 1,000 criminal cases, later went missing, according to Cleland. Also, in 2022, the Justice Department blamed former federal prosecutor Mark Bennett for false statements about evidence.  Bennett was fired by the Justice Department and is currently undergoing disbarment proceedings, Disciplinary Counsel v, Bennett, Case No. 2022-034; DOJ Inspector General Report No. 21-005.

In late 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that Viola was likely to prevail in the case, and was entitled to counsel.  The Court then appointed the Yale Law School Appellate Law Clinic and the Law Firm of Wiggin and Dana to submit a brief addressing “the agencies’ disclosure decisions.” The Court also forwarded a Motion to Refer Government admissions and misconduct to the DOJ Inspector General, and a Motion for a Criminal Referral, to the merits panel of three judges for further consideration. 

The Yale Appellate Clinic and Pro Bono Counsel at Wiggin and Dana are finalizing an appellate brief and coordinating their efforts with Ms. Corral, who utilized evidence and documents obtained in the records litigation to support her petition to vacate Tony Viola’s conviction on actual innocence grounds.


Based upon newly discovered evidence, including the government’s possession of exculpatory evidence it later suppressed, and Kathryn Clover’s role as a member of the prosecution team and not a fact witness, Ms. Corral filed a petition with the United States Court of Appeals to vacate Tony Viola’s conviction, and requested a full evidentiary hearing to develop a detailed factual record of actual innocence and the government’s violation of due process of law during mortgage fraud prosecutions.  The Court of Appeals conducted an initial screening of the petition and made a preliminary finding that the petition was meritorious, and ordered the government to address all issues raised in the petition.  Once again, however, the US Attorney’s Office in Cleveland declined to address the substance of the filing, saying it decided not to submit a formal reply but argued that any attempt to re-examine the case constituted an “abuse of the judicial process.”

“It’s impossible to defend yourself when the government possesses, then destroys, evidence establishing a defendant’s innocence,” said Tony Viola.  “The computers from the mortgage companies contained emails from lenders approving all loan terms and established there was no fraud.  The computers also contained documents contemporaneous with the transactions listed in the indictment, and prosecutors were obligated to preserve and not destroy this evidence.  Now that Mark Bennett and Dan Kasaris have been caught red handed using coerced and perjured testimony of multiple witnesses to ‘win’ convictions, I hope recent developments result in Bennett and Kasaris being held accountable for their misconduct, and that other wrongfully convicted defendants will have their cases re-examined.  We are also asking for a full investigation into the death of Dawn Pasela.”

ABOUT ATTORNEY KIMBERLY KENDALL CORRAL:  Kimberly Kendall Corral has successfully and aggressively defended a wide range of criminal cases from misdemeanors to capital homicide cases. Kim represents clients at all levels of criminal justice advocacy. This includes investigation, indictment, pre-trial motions practice, trial, direct appeals, post-conviction remedies, jurisdictional appeals, habeas corpus, and wrongful conviction litigation.  Kim was invited to the Oval Office to discuss a client’s pardon with the President of the United States and White House Counsel. She was honored as a Rising Star in 2019 by Super Lawyers. Additional information about Attorney Kimberly Corral’s law practice and recent accomplishments can be found on her website,

ABOUT THE YALE LAW SCHOOL APPELLATE CLINIC:  The Yale Law School Appellate Litigation Project provides legal representation to pro se appellants with meritorious civil cases pending before the court.  Additional information about the clinic is available at:

ABOUT APPOINTED COUNSEL:  David Roth is a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and Counsel in Wiggin and Dana’s Litigation Department.  Mr. Tadhg Dooley is a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and an associate in the Appellate and Complex Legal Issues Group at Wiggin and Dana LLP in New Haven.  Wiggin and Dana is a full-service law firm with more than 160 attorneys.  With offices in Connecticut, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Palm Beach, the firm represents clients throughout the United States and globally on a wide range of sophisticated and complex matters.  Additional information is available at

ABOUT FREETONYVIOLA.COM:’s mission is to shine a bright spotlight on the ‘win at all costs’ tactics, prosecutorial overreach and misconduct the United States Department of Justice employs when prosecuting American citizens.  Tony Viola was investigated by the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of state, local and federal agencies, and prosecuted in parallel federal and state cases. He lost the federal case but won the subsequent state trial.  The website, originally created to solicit leads for Tony’s investigative team, has evolved into a tool to keep the public informed about critical developments in his case, and to share information that could potentially assist others who have been wrongfully ensnared by our criminal justice system.  For additional information, visit; friend us on Facebook at; or follow us on Twitter @TonyViola.

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