By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A second federal judge today approved house arrest for two former Philadelphia narcotics officer charged with corruption.
Six officers were indicted last week, and during their initial appearance in court a judge ordered two held without bail, but four others were released to house arrest.
The prosecution appealed the house arrests, and those cases were being heard today.
The prosecution argued that all the defendants, charged in a conspiracy in which officers allegedly robbed and assaulted drug dealers and others, are a danger to the community — specifically, to witnesses in this case.
But defense attorney Jack McMahon, who represents officer Brian Reynolds, argued successfully that there is just no evidence to suggest he’s a danger to witnesses.
“There is no history at all of any threats to witnesses,” McMahon noted today. “The defendant was fully aware of this investigation for well over a year and a half, and obviously if there were times to threaten people, it would have been prior to their testifying or cooperating with the government. And he never did, and never would. So I think the judge accurately stated there is no realistic threat that would ever occur in the future, since it’s never occurred in the past.”
In affirming the house arrest, US District Court judge Eduardo Robreno noted that Officer Reynolds has been suspended and can’t repeat his alleged crimes.
The defendants have all pleaded not guilty, and the defense contends the witnesses, drug dealers, and an admittedly corrupt cop are lying to hurt the cops or help themselves.
The indictment last week accuses the officers of beating suspected dealers and stealing more than $500,000 in cash and cocaine from them.
Accused ringleader Thomas Liciardello and a second officer are being held without bail.
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