CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s back to the drawing board for attorneys in the stomach-churning body part brokering case affecting hundreds of Illinois families, thanks to a federal judge who just ground the case to a halt.
Lawyers were trying to reach a plea deal, and to many the judge’s call was a surprising move.
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One man who has been part of CBS 2’s coverage wrote a letter to the judge that might have made all the difference.
“Our voices have been silenced. Justice delayed and perhaps even denied,” said John Butsch as he read the letter he wrote to U.S. District Judge Paul Borman.
The judge read the letter in open court.
“Your honor, please allow our voices to be recorded and heard,” Butsch wrote.
And he did.
The father and son behind the Biological Resource Center of Illinois are facing the feds four years after the FBI’s raid of their business.
That’s four years Butsch and 289 other Illinois families have spent waiting.
His daughter, Alexandria, and those other families’ loved ones’ donated body parts are still in an FBI freezer.
“It was like a blow up courtroom,” Butsch said.
Donald Greene Sr. is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a possible 20-year sentence, but federal prosecutors recommended 21 to 27 months in the plea deal.
Greene’s son is charged with misprision of a felony. He is accused of concealing the crime, which carries a possible three-year sentence, but probation was recommended.
“The judge said, ‘There’s no restitution is here? No, that’s not going to fly,'” Butsch said.
Borman threw that plea deal out and told both sides to look at a new one, with a brief on the standing of the families.
A spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office told CBS 2, “The government’s filing will also address the victims’ rights statutes and how the law applies or does not apply in relation to the individuals whose loved ones’ body parts are being held by the FBI.”
“I feel heard, but there’s more to be said,” Butsch said.
Borman also asked about a possible conflict of interest in the case, since both of the Greenes are represented by the same attorney.
The case is delayed for three weeks with a status conference set for July 22.