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Drug trafficking: Authorities claim federal grand jury worker tipped off husband

A Hollywood, Florida woman has been arrested and charged with several federal crimes. These include assisting a purported drug trafficking ring and obstructing justice. The woman is accused of using confidential information gained through her employment to provide help to her husband and his associates in a drug trafficking operation.

The 36-year-old Broward County woman is an employee of the US attorney's office in Miami. However, she has been suspended without pay as a result of her arrest. She stands accused of alerting her husband that a witness was being called in by prosecutors to testify against him concerning grand jury proceedings over his alleged drug trafficking activities.

The proposed witness is said to be a former associate of the husband that he has known since childhood. He is reportedly serving a 15 1/2 year sentence in federal prison for drug-related offenses. Upon discovering the man was scheduled to testify, the woman allegedly alerted her husband.

While the drug-trafficking-related allegations against the woman are indeed serious, she is entitled to the same legal protections that exist for all individuals accused of a crime in Florida. In addition to the right to remain silent, she is legally presumed innocent of the drug trafficking allegations and related offenses unless and until she is convicted in a federal courtroom.

The government has the burden of proving the allegations it has made in a fair and impartial proceeding. This is no small task, and issues have already been raised about the legal propriety of some of the charges. Nevertheless, facing accusations leveled by the federal government is a daunting task, and the woman would do well to prepare a meaningful defense as she fights for dismissal of the charges, an acquittal or other favorable resolution of all criminal proceedings.

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "Grand jury worker fights charges of helping drug ring run by husband," Paula McMahon, April 26, 2012

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