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Battle Over Prosecution's Attempt to Drop Some Charges in Phila. Police Corruption Case

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's trouble in the prosecution's case on the eve of trial for six former Philadelphia narcotics officers charged with corruption.

The defendants are accused of using force and their positions as police officers to steal money, property, and drugs from drug dealers.

The prosecution filed a motion last Friday to withdraw some counts and allegations in the indictment.  Prosecutors did not explain reasons for the motion, but defense attorney Michael Diamondstein, who represents defendant John Speiser, says a key witness against Speiser perjured himself before the grand jury.

And Diamondstein says prosecutors and federal agents should have known it, based on earlier testimony from the witness.

"First of all, we are hopeful the United State governement will realize the charges against John Speiser are baseless. We hope they will do the right thing and withdraw the prosecution," Diamondstein said today.  "If not, we hope Judge Robreno will quash the count."

Other attorneys have joined the motion opposing the government's action.  Judge Eduardo Robreno has scheduled a hearing in the case for early tomorrow morning.



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