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Delayed Disclosure-Mistrial Motion

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 24, 2024//

Delayed Disclosure-Mistrial Motion

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 24, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Mario Giannini

Case No.: 22-3139

Officials: Easterbrook, Brennan, and Kirsch, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Delayed Disclosure-Mistrial Motion

Mario Giannini and Robert Czernek engaged in a series of fraudulent activities in Bloomingdale Township, Illinois. Giannini, employed by Bulldog Earth Movers owned by his girlfriend Debra Fazio, collaborated with Czernek, the Township’s Highway Commissioner. Czernek approved inflated invoices from Bulldog, and the surplus funds were divided between Czernek and Bulldog. Giannini, Czernek, and Fazio faced indictments for wire and honest services fraud. Czernek cooperated with authorities and pleaded guilty, while Fazio was acquitted of all charges following the government’s presentation.

Giannini previously sought a mistrial from the district court due to the government’s delayed disclosure of investigating agents’ notes containing an incriminating statement he made to Czernek. Additionally, Giannini contested the court’s decision to permit prosecutors to discuss Fazio’s actions in closing arguments, despite her acquittal.

The Seventh Circuit upheld the district court’s rulings. It determined that the district court acted within its discretion in denying Giannini’s mistrial motion, finding that the belated disclosure of the agents’ notes did not substantially prejudice Giannini. Regarding the discussion of Fazio’s conduct, the appeals court concluded that any potential error in allowing such remarks was harmless, given the overwhelming evidence implicating Giannini in the fraudulent activities.

Affirmed.

Decided 06/18/24

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