Prosecutors Admit Destroying E mails, Records at issue in Pending Federal Litigation

Prosecutors admitted destroying e mails and other records sought in litigation following Tony Viola's second trial, where he proved his innocence using evidence the Justice Department said didn't exist.  Before the first trial, Federal prosecutor Mark Bennett shifted evidence proving Tony Viola's innocence from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland to a federally funded Task Force, then pled ignorance to evidence and voice recordings housed at that location. Before Tony's second trial, the Task Force's Office Manager, Dawn Pasela, provided Tony with that hidden evidence, which Tony presented at the second trial to prove his innocence.

Despite a court order to produce e mails between Prosecutor Dan Kasaris and government witness Kathryn Clover, along with other records, the government now says those materials were destroyed.  FBI Agent Jeff Kassouf previously admitted listing to a series of post-indictment voice recordings between Ms. Pasela and Tony, which were used by prosecutors to obtain confidential defense trial strategy information. Agent Kassouf told the court he sent those recordings to the Task Force, but the government has yet to explain where those recordings are now or why they have never been produced.  After a recent admission by the Justice Department that it made false statements concerning evidence in Tony's case, The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit remanded this case to Judge Susan P. Baxter for further proceedings.  Judge Baxter then appointed counsel to assist Tony in the next phase of this litigation, Viola v. Department of Justice, et. al., Case # 15-cv-242, Western District of Pennsylvania, Docket # 124, 1/13/20 order. 

Tony Viola is the only prisoner in America who proved his innocence at trial yet remains in jail.