A federal judge in New Orleans declined Wednesday to grant a new trial to a convicted drug dealer who claimed he was framed by Chad Scott, an embattled narcotics agent who has been stripped of his badge by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The drug dealer, Michael D. Brumfield, insisted that Scott had a "personal vendetta" against him, and he faulted his defense attorneys for what he described as their failure to investigate law enforcement misconduct in his case.
Among other improprieties, Brumfield claimed that Hammond police officers, at Scott's direction, fabricated evidence against him and "engaged in a pattern of illegal behavior during their investigations, including lying about confidential informants and planting" narcotics to secure his conviction.
Brumfield was found guilty of drug conspiracy charges and sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison. He has maintained his innocence in a series of unsuccessful appeals, claiming most recently that Scott's suspension from the DEA this year constituted grounds for a new trial.
Brumfield pointed to a series of articles published in The Advocate that revealed a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the DEA task force led by Scott. Two former members of that group have been charged in the probe, accused of stealing cash and drugs and falsifying reports following federal drug raids.
A team of special prosecutors appointed to handle Scott's cases acknowledged in court filings that "an investigation into DEA Task Force members and other law enforcement officers is ongoing." But the prosecutors added that "at this time, the investigation has not revealed that misconduct occurred" in Brumfield's case.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk sided with the government, writing in a 13-page ruling that Brumfield failed to prove his defense lawyers had been ineffective at his 2014 trial. The judge also held that The Advocate's coverage of the Justice Department probe did not appear to be admissible in Brumfield's proceedings.
Brumfield was convicted of leading Hammond police on a high-speed chase in 2013. Police said he tossed narcotics out of his vehicle during the chase, including small bags of marijuana and a blue rubber glove containing about 40 grams of powder cocaine.
Officers found additional marijuana in Brumfield's vehicle and on a white T-shirt he was wearing, according to a police report. He had $791 in his pocket.