O. C. Smith Update

Defense Wants Government to Produce "Accomplice" in Medical Examiner Case


Attorneys for former Shelby County Medical Examiner Dr. O. C. Smith filed a motion in federal court this week asking the government to identify anyone it believes helped Smith stage his attack.
A separate motion indicates that Smith became a target of the government’s investigation last September when prosecutors urged him to plead guilty and “just cut your losses and move on.”
The motions were filed Wednesday by attorneys Gerald Easter and Jim Garts.
The defense request for a “bill of particulars” of allegedly false statements made by Smith about the incident includes a demand that the government document the “existence and identity of any persons” who helped stage what defense attorneys call the “attempted murder” of Smith by wrapping him in barbed wire and placing a bomb on his chest.
Smith was indicted in February and has pleaded not guilty. He was released on his recognizance and has resigned. The indictment does not say how the incident might have been staged or whether anyone other than Smith took part in it. Smith told investigators he was attacked on June 1, 2002.
The government says 17 law enforcement agencies took part in the investigation, which originally sought a religiously-motivated bomber who also wrote threatening letters about Smith and placed Molotov cocktails in the building that houses Smith’s office.
The latest court filings fill in a small piece of the puzzle by making it clear that by late last summer the investigation was focused on Smith to the extent that federal prosecutors were offering him a deal to plead guilty. The meeting took place September 11, 2003, and was videotaped by the government. Prosecutors said Smith could avoid a “media circus and a public trial” by pleading guilty.
The indictment says Smith made false statements during that meeting. The motion for a bill of particulars asks the government to spell out exactly what statements Smith made that were false. Since Smith was indicted, prosecutors have said little about the case. U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins told the Flyer in February, “We only have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it couldn’t have happened the way Dr. Smith said it happened. We may not answer some of those questions at the end of the day.”

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