Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cueto Asking Federal Court to Throw out Indictment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cueto Asking Federal Court to Throw out Indictment

Article excerpt

Federal prosecutors became "obsessed" with indicting prominent Metro East lawyer Amiel Cueto after he called them names in public, Cueto's lawyers contended Tuesday in court papers.

In a three-inch stack of documents submitted in U.S. District Court, Cueto seeks dismissal of charges that he tried to block a federal investigation of the gambling and topless nightclub empire run by convicted racketeer Thomas Venezia. The motions say the new charges against Cueto, Venezia and a third man should be thrown out because the U.S. attorney's office is guilty of "vindictive prosecution, selective prosecution, and prosecutorial misconduct."

The motions say that Cueto is being prosecuted partly because he exercised his constitutional rights to free speech under the First Amendment by publishing a newspaper called the East Side Review. In that paper, Cueto attacked U.S. Attorney W. Charles Grace, his staff, the FBI and others for their investigation into Venezia's business dealings. For instance, the newspaper likened some of them to Nazis, referred to one assistant U.S. attorney as "Miss Piggy" and another as a "strutting, bald-headed midget." The motions say such criticisms made Grace "detest" Cueto and become obsessed with prosecuting him. They also say there is "massive fraud, deceit and trickery" that goes "to the very top" of Grace's office. The motions say one assistant prosecutor made false statements to a federal judge and improperly talked to a potential witness in the case. Grace could not be reached for comment after the motions were filed late Tuesday afternoon. Cueto was indicted for conduct that other lawyers also engaged in, according to the motions, but those lawyers were not charged. The motions named three lawyers from Belleville as having done "precisely what the defendant is accused of." Some of the actions attributed to Cueto are made to seem illegal by the indictment when in fact they are not, the filings said. As examples, the documents list Cueto's criticism of federal authorities in his newspaper, his announcement that he planned to run for state's attorney of St. …

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