Zimmerman Prosecutor Facing Whistleblower Suit by Former Employee

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey lost the biggest case of her career.  Some legal analysts say that the case should never have gone to trial in the first place, but there was so much political and social pressure that Corey was forced to try George Zimmerman anyway.  Zimmerman’s defense team has asked that sanctions be brought against her and the rest of her team.  Other legal analysts say that she should face legal action for the way she handled or mishandled the case.

One of the charges that have been made against Corey is that she withheld vital information from the defense team until the very last minute.  This evidence is now playing a role in a whistleblower lawsuit about to be filed against Corey by Ben Kruidbos, her former director of information technology.

Kruidbos discovered the evidence while processing Martin’s.  He contacted Corey’s lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda in January about the evidence, sending him a full report including the photos.  The evidence was never disclosed to Zimmerman’s defense team until this June, less than a month before the trial began.

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In a pre-trial hearing on July 6, Kruidbos testified that Corey and her team had not turned over evidence that could have helped the defense’s case.  The evidence was the information that had been gathered from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone that showed photos of a pile of jewelry on a bed, a hand holding a semi-automatic pistol, marijuana plants and nude photos of underaged girls.

When the defense tried to bring up the cell phone evidence at the trial, Corey’s team argued that no one could prove that Martin took the photos or wrote the texts on his phone.  Judge Debra Nelson agreed and ruled it to be inadmissible, but from what I saw of the trial, Nelson had an agenda to help the prosecution convict George Zimmerman.

After testifying at the June 6 pre-trial hearing, Kruidbos was fired.  On July 11, Corey’s office issued a six-page letter that charges Ben Kruidbos with

“’… deliberate, willful and unscrupulous actions’ that make him untrustworthy and calls his questioning of de la Rionda’s actions regarding the cell phone evidence ‘a shallow, but obvious, attempt to cloak yourself in the protection of the whistleblower law.’”

Wesley White, Kruidbos’s attorney, once worked with Corey in the prosecutor’s office, but resigned his position last year because of his disapproval of how Corey operated.  Speaking on behalf of his client, White said:

“We will be filing a whistleblower action in (Florida’s Fourth Judicial District) Circuit Court.”

Although Corey says that her office has held to the highest ethical standards, one has to question why her office did not turn over the evidence retrieved from Martin’s phone in January until June, just prior to the start of the trial.  This does seem to be a possible violation of the Brady disclosure laws that requires prosecutors share all of their evidence with the defense lawyers in a timely manner, especially if that evidence will have an impact on the trial.

While most of the nation is watching the racial aftermath of the Zimmerman trial, others are watching to see just what will happen to Angela Corey and her future with the Florida State Attorney’s office.

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