Miami Prosecutor Resigns Amid Witness Tampering Allegations

A Miami prosecutor has resigned after a judge found evidence of witness tampering.

According to Atlanta Black Star, the long-serving legal official allegedly gave inmates conjugal visits. In exchange, he received their testimony in a death penalty case.

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Michael Von Zamft has stepped down after a judge found proof state investigators incentivized witnesses for testimony in a case against a gang leader. The man was sentenced to death for a quadruple homicide two decades ago. Furthermore, Von Zamft allegedly offered many jailhouse informants special privileges in exchange for testimony to help his case.

What Special Privileges Did Inmates Receive From The Miami Prosecutor?

Witnesses stated they were routinely given private visits with their chosen sexual partners. In addition, they received cigarettes, food items, and beverages. Additionally, the judge discovered one witness who claimed they had a sentence reduced in exchange for additional testimony.

Von Zamft has practiced in Miami’s 11th Judicial Circuit for nearly three decades and worked on many high-profile cases.

Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Andrea Ricker Wolfson prohibited him, along with prosecutor Stephen Mitchell, from participating in the resentencing trial of Corey Smith, a convicted murderer. Smith is the former head of Liberty City’s John Doe gang, which was responsible for flooding Black Miami communities with cocaine in the 90s.

Judge Wolfson announced her decision after a hearing in which the former gang leader’s defense presented new evidence in hopes of securing a new trial and removing the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office from the case, citing “egregious misconduct.”

Here’s What The Judge Said

Wolfson told The Miami Herald, “During the hearing, it became apparent there was a serious issue regarding possible witness testimony manipulation by the Assistant State Attorneys on this case — not only in the past but also in the present.”

Mitchell implied that he shared Von Zamft’s “philosophy of winning at all costs,” the judge said. He was subsequently dismissed from the case.

Wolfson rejected claims by Smith’s lawyers in a 15-page filing that there was a broader pattern of corruption that should disqualify the State Attorney’s Office from participating in the prosecution of the former drug lord.

Defense attorneys also said there were likely other criminal cases that could have been affected by the prosecutors’ misconduct.

According to The Atlanta Black Star, legal gurus stated the judge’s actions were rare. However, they suggested that if defense lawyers committed the same acts, they would likely be slammed with obstruction charges. Therefore, this shines a light on the inequality of treatment.

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