Feds upgrade charges on accused cop-killer’s girlfriend

October 8th, 2010 by Staff

TAMPA – “She’s not answering any questions, so don’t waste your time,” warned Cortnee Brantley’s defense attorney.

And Brantley isn’t answering any questions from police either, because if anything, the feds are turning up the heat with a new indictment charging she knew boyfriend Dontae Morris had a gun and ammo the night he’s accused of murdering officers Dave Curtis and Jeff Kocab during a traffic stop.

Brantley was driving, and her lawyer says she didn’t know Morris had a gun. Legal experts say the new indictment could mean new evidence she did know.

“It seems to me that either law enforcement has found the firearm and has been able to track its movement through interstate commerce, or number two, they’ve identified a witness who can assist them with proving that,” offered John Fitzgibbons, a former federal prosecutor.

“Someone new, a witness they’ve spoken with, somebody that may have had some contact with her immediately after or immediately before or the days before and would be able to put knowledge of his possession of a firearm,” added defense lawyer Eddie Suarez.

Brantley’s lawyer, Grady Irvin, wants the charges — that she failed to report Morris as a felon with a gun — dismissed. In court papers, he says the feds charged her because she invoked her right to remain silent, to not incriminate herself, through seven hours of questioning by TPD.

“By going forward and disclosing evidence, you also implicate yourself, you provide a chain of circumstances to law enforcement that could result in your own prosecution,” Fitzgibbons explained.

The lawyers say, to get convicted, Brantley must have done more than just refuse to talk.

“It requires not just her silence, but some affirmative step in connection with the concealment of the crime,” Suarez said.

Cortnee Brantley will be at federal court Friday morning to answer the new indictment. Her lawyer says she’ll plead not guilty and demand a trial by jury.

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