US District Court Judge David Bury ruled on Friday that no mention of Operation Fast and Furious aka Project Gunwalker could be made in the trial of two men accused of the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The U.S. asked the judge this summer to keep the details of Fast and Furious out of the murder trial, stating it was irrelevant.
Bury agreed. “I agree with one exception. I can’t find any relevance expect if the government should open the door,” he said.
If the government brings up the origins of the guns found, Bury ruled that defendants can then bring up Fast and Furious.
Bury ordered the defendants “not to refer to … or elicit any testimony regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Understood?”
The defendants, Ivan Soto Barraza and Jesus Leonel Sanchez Meza, used AK-47s to kill Agent Terry that the BATFE had allowed (encouraged) to be walked to Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious. Given that the Department of Justice and BATFE were complicit in providing the firearms used to kill Agent Terry, ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata, and 300 or more Mexicans, I’m not surprised that the US Attorney’s Office doesn’t want it mentioned. However, I am surprised that a judge would deny the defense of the opportunity to use it in defending their clients.
It is obvious that burying the details of Operation Fast and Furious is important to the prosecutors. In addition to the judge’s order above, they have a whole series of questions for potential jurors asking about their knowledge of Project Gunwalker. One does have to wonder if this was a local decision to suppress mention of Operation Fast and Furious or did the order come down from DC.