Panama City, Fla. - Former Prosecutor Greg Wilson lost two important battles in his upcoming felony trial.
Wilson, who served as second in command at the State Attorney's Office under current State Attorney Glenn Hess and then ran against him and lost, is charged with possession of contraband in a county detention facility, a felony, and a misdemeanor count of perjury not in an official proceeding.
Bay County Sheriff's investigators recorded Wilson while he was working as a defense attorney and talking with clients at the jail. The video recording allegedly shows Wilson passing notes between inmates at the jail. Investigators say Wilson then lied about the incident while under oath.
Investigators also plan to use phone call recordings between Wilson and his clients at trial.
Wilson had hoped to get that evidence thrown out because the communications between an attorney and client are supposed to be privileged and exempt from a criminal investigation. However, Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet sided with prosecutors and will allow the evidence to be presented.
Overstreet notes that no one has an expectation of privacy on phone calls to individuals at the jail. Both parties are notified during the calls that they are recorded. As to the hidden surveillance video in an interview room, Overstreet cuts it just a bit closer to the bone.
The interview rooms are open to video surveillance at all times. Guards and others can look in and see what is going on. Therefore, Overstreet writes, the hidden video amounts to the same thing. It also does not have any audio, and does not "reveal any confidential attorney-client communications (either verbal or written)."
Overstreet also will not allow one of Wilson's biggest points of contention to be heard by jurors at the trial. In motions and other court filings, it seemed clear that Wilson and his defense team hoped to show that the prosecution was politically motivated and came from Hess.
However, that issue and any other issue outside of guilt or innocence will be for the court to decide, not the jury, Overstreet wrote.
Wilson's trial is set to begin Monday.
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