UPDATE POSTED 11 A.M. OCT. 25, 2020
PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two indicted Pulaski County constables hope video stored
on a cell phone will clear them of federal charges they violated the civil rights of people they were investigating.
And one of the two hopes a possible 60-day delay in their trials to review the video prompts a judge to reconsider allowing him out of jail on bond.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Robert Wier to continue the Nov. 16 trial for constables Michael Wallace, 46, and Gary Baldock, 56, for 60 days.
A cell phone provided by Wallace is being analyzed by FBI forensic experts in Quantico, Va., but the evidence likely won’t be back until about Nov. 6, according to the request (read the full motion baldock oct 2020 motion to continue ).
Then lawyers will need time to review the evidence which apparently is about a terabyte of police body camera video that Wallace has told prosecutors could exonerate them of the civil rights violation allegations.
“As previously found by the Court, this case is complex and the information being
extracted may prove beneficial for both Defendants. Should body cam footage exonerate
one or both defendants from particular allegations that support the Civil Rights conspiracy
charge, that information would be critically important to both sides in trial preparation and
throughout trial. Similarly, the information will allow all parties to better evaluate the
nature and extent of contact between the defendants,” Parman wrote.
Wier is expected to make a decision this week after attorneys for the two men filed their official positions on whether the continuance should be granted.
Baldock’s attorney, Andrew Stephens, filed a response Friday saying his client doesn’t agree to the extension but understands its importance, especially since it could clear him.
But Stephens also noted Baldock has been in jail since a March 6 shootout with FBI agents during his arrest, and two judges have rejected his requests to have a bond set so he could possibly get out of jail (read the full response baldock response to oct continuance ).
Stephens said he hopes the possible continuance will get the court to reconsider.
“Mr. Baldock would agree that should the approximate 1 terabyte of information primarily
in video exist it may very well exculpate the Defendants who both vigorously deny any legal or criminal culpability in the instant offense,” Stephens wrote.
“The record is replete with argument that the Defendant has made that there are
circumstances of his release the would guarantee the safety of the community and that he would not be a risk to flee and he would ask the Court to reconsider imposition of such circumstances in consideration of finding that this matter has been determined to be complex and by definition additionally so because of the need to review significant video and audio evidence when presented with same by the FBI at Quantico,” the attorney continued.
Baldock is scheduled for trial Dec. 7 on separate attempted murder and weapons charges related to the arrest incident. If the civil rights trial is extended, that trial also would be moved.
The two men also have been indicted for meth trafficking. Those charges also are scheduled for Nov. 16 and would be continued. The motions don’t suggest whether the video might have any impact on those charges.
PREVIOUS UPDATE: JULY 21, 2020
PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two indicted Pulaski County constables get new trial dates after a federal judge rules new meth trafficking charges and expanded allegations of civil rights violations warrant more time for their attorneys to prepare.
Gary Baldock, 56, and Michael “Wally” Wallace, 46, had been scheduled to stand trial Aug. 3 on the civil rights violations while Baldock had been scheduled for an Aug. 24 trial on charges of attempted murder of an FBI agent and use of a firearm in a violent crime.
But federal prosecutors added meth trafficking charges in new June 25 indictments. They also expanded the period of the civil rights violations from November 2018 to March 6, 2020, the day if their arrest, rather than last September, as originally indicted.
“The parties’ filings indicate that, during the originally charged conspiracy period,
November 18, 2018, through September 24, 2019, 18 discrete incidents allegedly undergird the Count 1 charge. The related discovery, including state prosecutors’ files from the 13 events that resulted in state prosecutions of alleged conspiracy victims, is already extensive and not yet fully disclosed,” U.S. District Judge Robert Wier said in granting a continuance.
The expanded civil rights violations mean the men now are charged with 31 incidents, most of which resulted in charges against individuals in state court, charges that may now be in doubt.
Wier rescheduled the civil rights and drug charges for trial Nov. 16 at federal court in London. He moved Baldock’s attempted murder and firearms trial to Dec. 7, 2020.
“A continuance is necessary and appropriate to ensure that Defendants have adequate time to assess strategy and, as necessary, prepare for trial. Further, based on counsel’s representations, failing to grant a continuance would likely “result in
a miscarriage of justice,” Wier wrote.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Parman did not object to requests to continued the case.
The new indictments charge both men with trafficking in meth on March 6, 2020, the day they were arrested on federal charges of abusing their positions to violate citizens’ civil rights through false arrests, harassment, threats and theft or under-reporting of confiscated drugs and goods.
WTVQ-TV ABC 36 News previously reported FBI agents found suspected meth in the trunk of Baldock’s District 4 constable’s car when he was arrested following a shoot out at his home. But news of Wallace being in possession of the highly addictive drug comes with the new indictment.
According to the indictments, if convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison on the trafficking charge, as much as $1 million in fines an three years of supervised release.
FBI agents served indictments on both men early on the morning of March 6. Wallace, who has represented District 5 for 15 years and built a reputation as a no-nonsense anti-drug lawman, was arrested without incident.
Baldock, however, opened fire with a Glock Model 23 .40-caliber handgun on FBI agents, wounding one while being injured himself.
Two federal judges have refused to allow him free on bond and he remains in jail, despite health issues. Wallace is out of jail on bond.
While both men face up to 10 years if convicted on the civil rights charges, Baldock, who was just elected in November 2018, could get as much as life for the use of a firearm and attempted murder charges stemming from the shoot out.
The civil rights violations allegedly started in mid-November 2018, shortly after Baldock, who had a law enforcement background in Casey County, was elected and joined with Wallace on what federal prosecutors say were unconstitutional actions that continued through at least September 2019, when Wallace began to get suspicious of the ongoing FBI investigation.
The new allegations suggest the two men continued their alleged pattern even after becoming suspicious of a federal probe.