City seeks halt, gag in Greene suit

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Attorneys for the City of Detroit are asking for a gag order in a federal lawsuit brought by the son of slain stripper Tamara Greene.

The lawyers also are asking that the civil case be halted until the conclusions of the criminal case against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty and of the police investigation into Greene’s killing.

“We’ve of course sued them for violating my client’s constitutional rights, and now they want to do it again,” said Norman Yatooma, attorney for Jonathan Bond, Greene’s son. “Now they want to deny him his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.”

Meanwhile, attorney Mayer Morganroth, who had been under fire for having a potential conflict of interest in the Greene case, withdrew Tuesday as the lawyer for Kilpatrick and Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings. He withdrew as the city’s lawyer last week.

Morganroth now represents only Beatty in the Greene case. He is also Beatty’s lawyer in a criminal case in which she stands accused with the mayor of perjury, misconduct in office, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

City Assistant Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon said in federal court documents that Detroit police are chasing leads in connection with Greene’s April 30, 2003, shooting death.

“Given the fact that disclosure of the facts and information gathered by the Detroit Police Department to date … could seriously compromise the ongoing police investigation into Greene’s death,” the city asks the court to “stay the instant civil proceedings until the Detroit Police Department has had an opportunity to attempt to develop leads which have only recently been given to the department,” she wrote.

“That’s the most grossly self-serving argument that I have ever read,” Yatooma said. “They want to halt the case to conduct their investigation.”

Greene’s son has sued the city, Kilpatrick, Bully-Cummings and other top officials, claiming they derailed the investigation into his mother’s death, preventing the family from filing a wrongful death suit against her killers.

Crittendon wrote that Yatooma has made statements in the press that would “severely hinder” the defendants’ ability to receive fair trials in both the civil and criminal cases.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen is handling the Greene case.

http://www.freep.com/article/20080402/NEWS01/108180041/City-seeks-halt-gag-in-Greene-suit

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