Statement from U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips
In July 2008, this office requested that the Department of Justice conduct an independent review of allegations raised by The Kansas City Star concerning the prosecution of United States v. Sheppard, et al. A team of experienced attorneys from the department’s Criminal Division conducted an exhaustive review of the records and evidence in the case. The team traveled to Kansas City on multiple occasions to interview trial witnesses, law enforcement officers, and other individuals involved in the case. Their findings are compiled in a 20-page report that has been presented both to myself and to the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. Due to privacy requirements and the amount of confidential investigative material contained in the full report, a summary of the report has been released to the public.
The summary of the department’s findings, which was released today, states that the review team “did not find any credible support for the Star’s allegations.”
This thorough and impartial review vindicates our longstanding confidence in the professionalism of our attorneys and law enforcement agents. More importantly, it vindicates the credibility of the system of justice that resulted in five defendants being indicted, convicted at trial by a jury of their peers and sentenced to life in prison. The convictions and sentences were twice reviewed and affirmed. The public can be confident that justice was served.
The bottom line: There is nothing that calls into question the defendants’ guilt of the crimes for which they were convicted.