Judge Refuses to Start Misconduct Probe Against Prosecutor
By Andrew Ramonas | April 15, 2022 1:48 pm

A federal judge in New Mexico refused to order an investigation into alleged Justice Department misconduct in a police-corruption case, the Tulsa World reported Friday.

U.S. District Judge Bruce Black of New Mexico rejected motions from Tulsa police officers who claimed that First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Duke of the Eastern District of Arkansas infringed on their constitutional rights by identifying them as unindicted co-conspirators in a case against officers Bill Yelton and Jeff Henderson.

Yelton and Henderson face civil rights, perjury and witness tampering. Henderson also faces drug distribution and conspiracy charges.

The officers who filed the motions, Shawn Hickey and Frank Khalil, never were charged. But an FBI agent testified in court that Khalil and former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Brandon McFadden bagged drug money during stings. The FBI agent also said Hickey and Henderson were together when evidence in a case was moved around.

Black wrote in his order that he would review evidence brought up at trial to decide whether it was admissible for prosecutors to list the unindicted co-conspirators. He also left open the possibility that the officers could refile their motions at the end of the trial.

The trial for Yelton and Henderson is scheduled to start June 20.

Duke has been the lead prosecutor on the police-corruption case since 2009, when then-U.S. Attorney David O’Meilia of the Northern District of Oklahoma, which is based in Tulsa, recused himself. She led the Little Rock, Ark.-based U.S. Attorney’s office on an acting basis from 2007 until U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer was sworn in in January. Duke now serves as the No. 2 official in the office.

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