Legal Expert Coffey: Holder's Ferguson Comments Could Be an Issue

Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 05:13 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's trip to the Missouri city where a white cop fatally shot a black teen and his comment that it was "personal" to him could affect an investigation into the tragedy, legal analyst Kendall Coffey tells Newsmax TV.

"It certainly contributes to view that the flames are being fanned in pretrial publicity. That can be an issue … down the road," Coffey said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."

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"We all have to recognize that this is an extraordinary thing for the U.S. attorney general to go on to the scene of an investigation at its early stages.

"In the attorney general's mind, perhaps it's going to calm the community down, but … necessarily it's going to put more pressure on prosecutors and FBI agents because they are going to perceive that the guy at the top wants some action. That's a legitimate concern."

Coffey, a founding member of Coffey Burlington, PL in Miami, said it will also create expectations in the community that may not be realistic.

"If the community, after seeing him come there and hearing these remarks, does not see a federal investigation, there's going to be huge disappointment," he said.

Coffey said Holder's appearance is also under scrutiny by the police community, which is rallying behind Officer Darren Wilson and his decision to shoot Brown.

"Make no mistake about it. They now see an attorney general who was indicating some degree of unusual personal interest and personal investment in investigation," Coffey said.
"If there's a federal prosecution actually brought, there's going to be concern on that side that this thing was not as fairly and objectively considered as it should've been.

"This is a very big cause, perhaps even a national cause for the police community, which largely believes the officer is being scapegoated, and those concerns are certainly not softened by the high-profile presence of the nation's highest-ranking law enforcement officer."

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