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Allen Chiu, Unethical Prosecutor, Forced to Dismiss XBox Modding Case After Revelation of Numerous Ethical Violations

Breaking news:

LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities in the first-of-its-kind game console modding criminal trial abruptly dropped their prosecution here Thursday “based on fairness and justice.”

“The government has decided to dismiss the indictment,” prosecutor Allen Chiu told the judge shortly before the jury was to be seated on the third day of trial.

 We will have more details and commentary later. Yesterday I demonstrated how Assistant United States Attorney Allen Chiu violated the law he was sworn to uphold. There is more proof that he has no sense of legal ethics, as he committed a Brady/Giglio violation:

U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez had blasted the prosecution’s case Wednesday, prompting a brief recess for prosecutors to decide whether they would forge ahead. The prosecution’s decision to continue would come back to haunt them as the government’s first witness ultimately unraveled their case.

Witness No. 1, Tony Rosario, was an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association who told jurors Wednesday that he paid Crippen $60 in 2008 to modify an Xbox, and secretly videotaped the operation. Rosario had responded to Crippen’s advertisement on the internet, and met Crippen at his Anaheim house.

All of that had been laid out in pre-trial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes.

But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. Shortly before Rosario’s testimony during opening statements, defense attorney Koren Bell told jurors that there would be no evidence of that kind.

Defense attorney Callie Steele objected to the new testimony. And as court was to get underway here early Thursday, prosecutor Chiu told the judge that he first learned of Rosario’s newfound recollection days before trial. Chiu conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense.

Although the United States Attorney's Office will not discipline Chiu, all lawyers are now on notice that Allen Chiu cannot be trusted. He will suborn perjury. He will violate his disclosure requirements under Brady/Giglio. (The evidence was exculpatory as impeachment evidence. Wasn't it a remarkable "coincidence" that just as the trial court required the prosecutor to produce evidence that no one thought the prosecutor had, a paid witness "discovered" this evidence? This convenient "discovery" of evidence was suspicious, and thus could be used by the defense to impeach the witness.) 

Here are Chiu's biographical details:

Allen Chiu’s Experience

Assistant United States Attorney

October 2009 — Present 

Associate Latham & Watkins

November 2006 — October 2009

Law Clerk

U.S. District Court August 2005 — September 2006

University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law

JD, Law, 2002 — 2005