Prosecutor Under Fire


The Times of Trenton, Associated Press
October 14, 1995

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A prosecutor who ridiculed the suggestion she would have witnesses lie to convict the former Parsippany, N.J., mayor of corruption went too far, an attorney told a federal appeals court yesterday.

Prosecutors countered that Assistant U.S. Attorney Alicia Olivera Valle's comments were ''feisty,'' but a proper response to defense suggestions that lawyers made up evidence to convict Frank Priore.

In her rebuttal argument in March 1994, Olivera Valle told a federal jury, ''He's telling you the witnesses lied. The government knew about it. The government doesn't care about the truth. . . . Well, that's crap. Had that been done, that's suborning perjury, another five years. I'm in for 15 now.'' In oral arguments yesterday before three judges of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Priore attorney Patrick Mullin said Valle's comments were improper and shifted the burden of proof in the case to the defendant.

Priore, mayor for 12 years of the northern New Jersey town of 50,000 near New York City, was convicted in March 1994 of 20 counts of mail fraud, bribery, extortion and obstruction of justice. He is serving a five-year sentence at a Schuylkill County, Pa., prison.

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