Feds Push For New Trial in Bayonne Police Brutality Conspiracy

NEWARK, New Jersey – The government is opposing a motion of acquittal for Francis Styles, the Bayonne police officer accused of covering up a brutality case. The moves comes two months after a mistrial was declared.

The case, which stems from a December 2013 arrest of Brandon Walsh at his Avenue C home in Bayonne, ended Dec. 18 when the jury told U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty that they could not reach a verdict.

It was a disappointing conclusion for both sides in the trial, which centered on whether or not Styles intentionally omitted from his incident report that fellow officer Domenico Lillo struck Walsh in the head with a flashlight.

“A mistrial makes nobody happy,” McNulty said after accepting the juror’s deadlock memo.

On Dec. 27, 2013, officers Lillo, Styles and James Wade arrived separately at Walsh’s home near the corner of Avenue C and West 53rd Street. Walsh had an arrest warrant from Sussex County for failing to appear in court.

Lillo pleaded guilty in September 2015 to using excessive force during Walsh’s arrest. He later struck a plea deal with the government and agreed to testify against Styles.

He spent nearly three days on the stand and claimed that he fully expected cooperating officers to cover up his flashlight strike.

Styles was accused of one count of falsifying records in a federal investigation and one count of “misprision of a felony,” and faced more than two decades in prison if he had been found guilty.

After the mistrial, the defense immediately moved to file a motion of acquittal.
They reaffirmed the motion in a brief dated Jan. 16, in which defense attorneys argued that the proofs of theory provided by the prosecution that Styles knew of the flashlight strike and then helped cover it up “were insufficient to establish Styles’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It went on that Lillo’s testimony against Styles included “blatant lies” and “dramatic inconsistencies” with his own statements made to government officials prior to the trial.

But the U.S. Justice Department opposed that motion on Feb. 1, claiming that “a rational juror could find that the essential elements of the crimes charged were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In a response dated Feb. 8, the defense again pushed for acquittal, arguing that the government’s evidence was “profoundly unpersuasive.”

Lillo is scheduled to be sentenced March 5.

Source: http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2018/02/feds_push_for_new_trial_in_bay.html