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Deputy U.S. Marshal Todd Brown is scheduled to testify in the federal trial in Fort Collins

Deputy U.S. Marshal Todd Brown is scheduled to testify in the federal trial in Fort Collins

Retrial of Colorado man in border wall fraud case begins Monday

A trial that has pitted Colorado against the federal government begins Monday, after a man whose rights were violated by authorities in Washington, D.C., says he’s not guilty, according to his attorney.

The trial in Fort Collins started Monday with arguments and testimony from prosecutors and defense attorneys. One point of contention between the two sides is whether Deputy U.S. Marshal Todd Brown, an independent contractor hired to work in Colorado, can be called a witness, lawyers say.

They argue the evidence at a pretrial hearing has so far shown Brown has not met all the criteria set out by the U.S. Marshals Service and by the court.

Brown, who has been with the service for nearly 20 years, is a paid consultant, not a federal employee, so neither agency would have given him the authority to act as a federal investigator.

But he’s been doing that for the past year, and has been involved in more than 50 contacts with witnesses and the public, who have been questioned in his office in the federal building in Denver, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Luskin argued.

Luskin acknowledged his office has seen some reports about Brown’s investigation that it wants to call him, and he said he is not opposed to Brown’s appearance.

The government disagrees, saying Brown can’t be called as a witness, and said he should be in protective custody at all times like everyone else who’s testifying in the trial.

Brown, who has not testified so far, is scheduled to testify in the trial Monday, according to his attorney, Joe Bergen, who said he had not seen Brown’s report on his investigation.

Bergen said his office could possibly call Brown as a witness if needed in the case, before final arguments and closing arguments are made on Wednesday.

His testimony, if considered, could be pivotal to the defense’s case.

After testimony began Monday, Solicitor Gen. John D. Morisset was brought into the courtroom to question Brown about his position at the Marshals Service.

He said Brown had written up his activities, and that he was not allowed to testify against the Marshals Service itself, under the law. Luskin said a marshal who tried to do that — an exception to the law that Brown, by his very nature, is trying to avoid — would have been at risk of losing his

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