News and Press Releases

Woman Serving Drug Sentence Charged with Contempt for Refusing to Testify at Co-Defendant's Trial

February 20, 2014

PITTSBURGH - A Pittsburgh woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of criminal contempt of court, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The one-count indictment, returned on Feb. 18, named Marquetta Lavelle Mitchell, 41, as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment, Mitchell disobeyed and resisted the lawful process, order and command of a Court of the United States, that is, she refused to testify at the Oct. 16-22, 2012, trial of Andre Williams, for charges that included conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, at Case Number 11-116, despite: the subpoena that required her to do so; an instruction from Senior United States District Court Judge Alan N. Bloch that her Fifth Amendment rights had been extinguished; and a written order compelling her to testify pursuant to a grant of immunity from Senior United States District Court Judge Alan N. Bloch.

The law provides for an unlimited period of incarceration and/or a fine, at the discretion of the Court. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant. Court records reveal that before Mitchell refused to testify at the trial of her co-defendant Andre Williams, Mitchell herself was prosecuted for federal drug charges and is serving a 10-year sentence.

Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and the 21st Judicial District Drug Task Force in Tennessee conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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