Fazzio attorney says U.S. Attorney's office 'running amok' - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Fazzio attorney says U.S. Attorney's office 'running amok'

River Birch CFO Dominick Fazzio (File) River Birch CFO Dominick Fazzio (File)
New Orleans, La. -

The chief financial officer of River Birch landfill wants the federal charges against him thrown out.

Dominick Fazzio's attorney says the feds should drop the charges because of misconduct within the U.S. Attorney's office.  

Fazzio is accused by the government of conspiring with his brother-in-law, Mark Titus, to embezzle money from a construction company. Fazzio's attorney, Buddy Lemann, has long maintained his client's innocence.

Wednesday, Judge Ginger Berrigan held an evidentiary hearing to determine if the charges should be dropped.  

Lemann argues prosecutors have committed a number of missteps. "It was an office that was running amuck," Lemann said of the U.S. Attorney's office.

Just last week, the first assistant U.S. Attorney, Jan Mann, was demoted after admitting to making comments online about federal cases.

Lemann commented, "It's another factor to be considered. I mean, it's been my position all along this was an ill-conceived prosecution to begin with. It was all to rush into an indictment to try to ensnare Fazzio to deliver Heebe."

River Birch owner Fred Heebe has long been the focus of a federal probe.

During the evidentiary hearing Wednesday, Lemann called Mark Titus to the stand. Titus is Fazzio's brother-in-law and was indicted along with Fazzio for the alleged embezzlement scheme.  Titus pled guilty but then tried to change his plea after claiming the government backed out on a deal with him.

His attorney, Jimmy Ardoin, explained, "Essentially what he's saying is that he received assurances that were not written, that there was an agreement not to take any of his property." 

The government denies that.  Still, Lemann used Titus's testimony Wednesday to show what he believes is prosecutorial misconduct.

Even Titus's attorney said Jan Mann's actions raised some questions about the office. "It's kind of ironic that public integrity is investigating this case and all of this is happening with federal prosecutors doing it. Is the public integrity not looking at anything going on in the Eastern District? I think it's kind of ironic," Ardoin said.

Judge Berrigan didn't issue a ruling Wednesday on Fazzio's motion to dismiss the case. He's set to go to trial in just a few weeks. So is Mark Titus, who was recently indicted on new charges. His attorney says he'll also file a motion to dismiss the charges against Titus.

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