The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office replaced the prosecutor handling the case against Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor on Wednesday after Taylor's attorneys claimed he was using the case to promote his side business as a disc jockey.
Assistant state attorney Mike Grieco asked to be taken off the case because "he sees himself becoming the courtroom focus, rather than the individual charged with the criminal offense," according to a statement released by the state attorney's office. The move came after Taylor's attorneys said Wednesday morning that they would ask a judge to dismiss the aggravated-assault case because Grieco had a website promoting his work as a disc jockey and linking to news articles about the Taylor case.
The page on myspace.com was taken offline Wednesday.
"He was taking advantage of our client's notoriety," said one of Taylor's attorneys, Richard Sharpstein. "We're very happy to hear that there will be a new prosecutor looking at this because wecan only believe that an ethical and experienced prosecutor will do nothing but dismiss this case."
Sharpstein and the other attorneys on the case said the witnesses against Taylor, several of whom are in jail or have criminal records, are not credible. Grieco would not comment on Sharpstein'sallegations. The state attorney's office office had given him permission to moonlight as a disc jockey.
The state attorney's office lashed out at the defense team, stating "the desire to smear a prosecutor and affect a potential jury pool is a reprehensible trial tactic."
Sharpstein's co-counsel and wife, Janice Burton Sharpstein, bristled at the suggestion.
"He's decided that at night or on the weekends, he wants to be DJ Esquire and in order to promote himself or his business, he is listing the fact that he's a state attorney and he's also listing onthe very first page, 'Hey, look at my publicity,' " she said. "On South Beach, the measure of value is celebrity. . . . He's promoting himself and promoting his business on the back of Sean Taylor."
Taylor, a former University of Miami star, was arrested in June after police say he waved a gun at several people he believed were involved in the theft of a friend's all-terrain vehicle. His case was postponed so he could play football last season, and is scheduled to go to trial May 8.