Lawyer for ex-Canadian Forces reservist Patrik Mathews wants weapons charges dropped
WINNIPEG -- A lawyer for a former Canadian Forces reservist from Manitoba who is alleged to have been a recruiter for a white supremacist organization in the United States is asking a judge to dismiss charges and suppress evidence against his client.
Joseph A. Balter, the attorney representing Patrik Mathews, filed the motions on Monday in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
Mathews, a former combat engineer, vanished from Beausejour, Man., last year following media reports alleging he was a recruiter for The Base, a white-supremacist group with growing notoriety in the U.S.
He's been in custody in Maryland since January, along with two other alleged co-conspirators, Brian Lemley Jr. and William Bilbrough, after the trio were arrested as part of a broader FBI investigation of The Base.
Mathews faces four charges, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison: two counts each of two charges related to possessing and transporting a firearm and ammunition while in the country illegally.
None of the charges have been proven in court. Mathews has pleaded not guilty.
In the documents, Balter is asking the court to dismiss criminal charges against Mathews, alleging probable cause was not obtained for the evidence.
The motions also ask for the court to not allow the government to present any "tangible and derivative evidence" seized in connection with the search and seizure warrants, arguing the presentation of evidence against co-defendants in a single trial "will be prejudicial to the rights of Mr. Mathews because the vast majority of discovery does not relate to Mr. Mathews’ alleged offenses."
Balter is also asking for the judge in the case to suppress "any and all statements, admissions and confessions allegedly given by the defendant, whether oral, written or otherwise recorded, which the government proposes to use as evidence against the defendant at trial," alleging Mathews' Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights were violated.
CTV News has reached out to the U.S. District Court of Maryland for comment.
-with files from The Canadian Press.