The Justice Department has been attempting to prosecute a number individuals involved with bribing foreign officials, however it has now been reported that the department is running into problems due to racy, vulgar, seemingly anti-gay, and racist text messages exchanged between FBI agents and their informant.
Informant Richard Bistrong and his FBI handlers texted jovially about sex, booty calls, prostitutes, cigars, the Village People, their own wives and girlfriends, and which celebrities would play them in a movie about their operation, according to The Washington Post.
The vulgar conversations are undoubtedly making it more difficult for the government to prosecute the suspects they have charged. The government has charged a total of 16 defendants allegedly involved in bribes to win business from foreign governments. So far, seven suspects have been tried. However, all seven have not been convicted as their trials have resulted in hung juries.
Defense lawyers are highlighting the offensive and lewd texts to downgrade the character of government witnesses, making them look unprofessional and less trustworthy to the juries. Defense attorney Steven McCool is using the text messages to attack the character and credibility of the FBI agents, as well as Bistrong himself. He questioned Bistrong about how his texts seemed to included "racial overtones" and "a bias against gay people."
Defense attorney Paul Calli used the texts to display that "the FBI had established no appropriate boundaries" between themselves and Bistrong.
The defense attorneys' methods of focusing on the unsavory texts are achieving results. The jury foreman from the most recent trail told the Washington Post, "We found the government witnesses to have little credibility . . . [The FBI and Bistrong's] texts were one of many things that point to an absolutely amateurish operation."
Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney has issued a statement that the Justice Department is unsure "whether to continue to go forward" with the remaining trials in light of their lack of success.