Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
For some time now, Carl Brizzi has been the target of a federal investigation into actions taken and decisions made while he was the elected Prosecutor of Marion County.
The inquiry has centered on two cases: State of Indiana vs. Paula Willoughby and State of Indiana vs. Joseph Mobareki. This investigation of possible violations of federal criminal law involved, but was not limited to, allegations of bribery.
While it may be unacceptable for a prosecutor to receive a $29,000 campaign contribution from the father of a woman who has requested her prison sentence for murder be modified (Willoughby), or for a prosecutor to have a financial relationship with a criminal defense lawyer while determining what plea bargain should be extended to a client of that same defense lawyer (Mobareki), the criminal law requires more to support a conviction.
As the United States Attorney, I must determine that there is sufficient admissible evidence to prove a federal crime beyond a reasonable doubt prior to authorizing criminal charges.
The federal criminal investigation and prosecution of David Wyser for bribery produced no direct evidence from any witness – including David Wyser – that any individual other than Wyser authorized a sentence modification for Paula Willoughby.
Likewise, the federal criminal investigation and prosecution of Paul Page for bank fraud in relation to the Elkhart property produced no direct evidence from any witness – including Paul Page – that the proceeds Mr. Brizzi received from the Elkhart transaction influenced the decision to give Paul Page’s client Joseph Mobareki an unusual plea bargain.
Because neither Paul Page, nor David Wyser, nor any other witness has provided direct evidence that Mr. Brizzi received a bribe in connection with the Willoughby matter or the Mobareki plea bargain, I have determined that there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Brizzi committed the crime of bribery and sustain a conviction.
However, under the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is obligated to report Mr. Brizzi’s alleged misconduct in the Willoughby and Mobareki matters. I have instructed that this office provide the evidence gleaned from this investigation to the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility for their determination on whether the alleged misconduct should be referred to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.