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Congressman charged with cocaine possession

In a story that brings about comparisons to the Internet TV series “House of Cards” a congressman from Florida is being charged with drug possession in Washington, D.C. ABC News reports that Trey Radel, a first year Republican congressman was the target of a federal investigation regarding drug sales.

According to ABC News, Radel reportedly purchased cocaine from an undercover federal agent two weeks ago but was not arrested at that time. The agents involved in the operation maintained their cover after the transaction and confronted Radel at his home later that evening. Radel was reportedly not arrested, but discussions between federal prosecutors and his attorney began soon afterwards.

He appeared in court yesterday to enter a plea and was released on his own recognizance.

The story also is an example of why people ensnared in federal investigations need experienced legal counsel. A seasoned criminal defense attorney can provide important information about the scope and severity of the crime charged, as well as the likelihood of the prosecution being able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. With an experienced lawyer, the accused can make informed decisions about the course of his or her case (e.g. whether to testify on the stand, provide blood or urine samples if requested, or what issues must be developed).

It remains to be seen what other negotiations will come out between prosecutors and Radel’s defense team, but it is likely to involve his testimony on other people in the drug circuit in exchange for leniency in charges and/or sentencing recommendations.

Source: ABC, “Florida Rep. Trey Radel expected to appear in court today on cocaine charges,” John Parkinson and Stven Portnoy, November 20, 2013