A court-appointed lawyer for a defendant accused of plotting an attack on Fort Dix said Tuesday that a campaign mailer suggesting that his wife, a political candidate, might be sympathetic to terrorists could taint the jury pool.
Attorney Michael Riley said told U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler that the ad could sway potential jurors in the case against his client, Shain Duka, and the four other men who were charged in May with conspiring to kill soldiers.
The Republican mailer that went out this month criticizes his wife, Tracy, a Democrat running for a seat in the state Assembly.
It features a picture of masked men carrying automatic guns. It reads: “He came to our country illegally. He plotted with other Islamic radicals to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix. Now, Tracy Riley’s family’s law firm is defending him … and your tax dollars are paying them to do it.”
“If she goes to Trenton, will she really fight for tougher crime laws that hurt her clients?” it asks.
Michael Riley, a former prosecutor, said he was considering trying to force the GOP to hand over their mailing list so he could figure out which potential jurors received the flier.
“It’s pretty despicable stuff,” Kugler said, noting that Dawn Marie Addiego, one of the Republican candidates, is a lawyer. “She should know better.”
Addiego accused Riley of exploiting the issue for political gain.
“I’m shocked that Tracy Riley and her husband would stoop so low as to use a federal courtroom as the stage for an obvious campaign stunt,” she said in a statement on Tuesday. “Not as surprising is Tracy Riley making yet another attempt to divert attention away from the serious issue we’ve raised.”
Tracy Riley, who graduated from law school this year but has not taken the bar exam, said it’s unfair to link her to her husband’s career. She said her husband is upholding the Constitution by taking on a client accused of a frightening crime something she said her opponents don’t seem to grasp.
“They clearly don’t understand what the Sixth Amendment means,” she said, referring to the part of the U.S. Constitution that provides for people accused of crimes to have a fair trial. (MORE)