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Where the USAO conducts a "joint investigation" with another state or federal agency, courts in this Circuit have held that the prosecutor's duty extends to reviewing the materials in the possession of that other agency for Brady evidence.
During the factual investigation that preceded the bringing of two actions - - a criminal insider trading case and a parallel civil enforcement action, both brought against defendant Rajat Gupta - Assistant United States Attorneys ("AUSAs") from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York ("USAO") and an attorney from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") conducted joint interviews of 44 witnesses. By contrast, the SEC separately conducted interviews of only two witnesses. At the joint interviews, the only person who took notes was an FBI agent assigned to the USAO. However, the SEC attorney who attended the joint interviews subsequently prepared memoranda summarizing the portions of the interview he deemed relevant, and, in one of the separate interviews, took contemporaneous written notes of the interview. Gupta argued that he was entitled to disclosure of some or all of the SEC memoranda and notes through two avenues. First, in a motion made in the criminal case, Gupta argued that the USAO has a Brady obligation to review the SEC's memoranda and notes and turn over any exculpatory evidence. Second, in a motion made in the parallel civil action, Gapta argued that he was entitled to production of the memoranda and note under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b) as matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action.
Was defendant Gupta entitled to disclosure of some or all of the SEC memoranda and notes?
Yes, through the first avenue.
The Court held that under the circumstances, the USAO must review the SEC’s memoranda and interview notes and disclose to defendant any Brady material therein. The Court noted that the prosecutor has a duty to learn of any favorable evidence known to the others acting on the government’s behalf in the case, including the police. Where the USAO conducted a "joint investigation" with another state or federal agency, courts have held that the prosecutor's duty extended to reviewing the materials in the possession of that other agency for Brady evidence. For Brady purposes, it was enough that the agencies were engaged in joint fact gathering, even if they were making separate investigatory or charging decisions, because the purpose of Brady was to apprise the defendant of exculpatory evidence obtained during the fact-gathering that might not otherwise be available to the defendant.