ACORN Conspirator Sought Separate Trial

The Las Vegas Sun reports

Lawyers for the woman accused by the Nevada attorney general’s office of approving questionable voter registration tactics told a Clark County District Court judge Wednesday that the bad publicity swarming around her co-defendant – the grassroots organizing group ACORN – would make it impossible for her to receive a fair trial.

At a Wednesday hearing, lawyers for Amy Busefink asked for her case to be severed from ACORN’s so the two could stand trial separately. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and Busefink are facing 13 felony counts related to allegations they authorized the use of cash incentives as a motivation for workers to register more voters.

Judge Donald Mosley denied the motion to sever, saying he didn’t see a need for two “carbon-copy” trials. He also said it would be impossible to try Busefink without discussing ACORN at her trial so there would be no way to insulate her from ACORN’s reputation.

If convicted, Busefink likely would face probation or less than one year in jail. ACORN could see a $5,000 fine.

Bradley Scott Schrager, one of Busefink’s attorneys, said Wednesday that the bad press ACORN has been subjected to would make it difficult for a jury to independently assess “Amy’s guilt or innocence (while she is) sitting next to what is basically an American pariah organization.”

He gave the analogy of a person standing trial in 1952 alongside the Communist Party during the Red Scare. As the human face on trial, Busefink would bear the brunt of any ill will toward the organization, he said.

“Sitting next to the most hated, most feared, most reviled organization in the country is in itself a danger to this process,” Schrager said. […]

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