Michael Rimmer’s attorney, Paul Bruno, has asked a Shelby County judge to recuse the Shelby County DA’s office from Rimmer’s retrial, which is set for July, 2014. Assistant District Attorney Tom Henderson, who was the lead prosecutor for Shelby County at Rimmer’s 1998 trial for the murder of Ricci Ellsworth, had already been removed from the case when Rimmer’s conviction was overturned by a Tennessee District Court in 2012.
District Court Judge James C. Beasley determined that ADA Henderson not only suppressed evidence pertaining to an alternative suspect, but made false claims to Rimmer’s attorneys that no such evidence existed. Beasley also found that Henderson knew (or should have known) that the lead detective on the case gave false testimony on the stand. Beasley called Henderson’s actions “blatantly false, inappropriate and ethically questionable” and ruled that Henderson should be taken off the case altogether.
A bar complaint has since been filed against Henderson, which you can read here.
According to Fox News, Rimmer’s defense counsel say that Henderson’s removal isn’t enough to ensure Rimmer has a fair trial the next time around. They argue that Henderson’s influence in the District Attorney’s office would taint any prosecution by the office, and are asking for a special prosecutor to be brought in to handle the upcoming trial.
The judge presiding over the case, Judge Chris Craft, is expected to rule on the defense’s request by January 27, 2014.