A federal judge on Friday denied prominent Baltimore defense attorney Ken Ravenell’s requests for a new trial, saying the court followed all the correct procedures during the first trial.
Convicted of money laundering for a drug organization, Ravenell sought a new trial on the grounds jurors weren’t properly instructed before their deliberations. Judge Liam O’Grady refused the request, writing that the “interest of justice does not require the granting of a new trial.”
Ravenell, 61, stood trial in December, and several prominent defense attorneys criticized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland for how prosecutors handled the case, accusing them of disrespecting the legal profession. Federal authorities originally charged Ravenell with racketeering, drug conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly helping a multi-state marijuana operation run by drug kingpin, Richard Byrd. Byrd was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Ravenell is set to be sentenced May 27 and is asking, through his defense attorney, for probation. Prosecutors are asking for a much harsher penalty — eight years imprisonment.
Prosecutors are also asking O’Grady to order Ravenell forfeit or payback $1.8 million the government claims he helped Byrd and other drug dealers launder. The forfeiture request also allows the government to seize property, such as a home, if Ravenell can’t pay back the money.
Peter White, Ravenell’s attorney, denies Ravenell knowingly helped launder any money at all, but if he did, only about $59,000 could reasonably be considered drug money, also citing Byrd’s testimony.
Due to the nature of his crimes, Ravenell could have his law license revoked if no new trial is ordered and his conviction is upheld.
In January, he asked the Maryland Court of Appeals not to revoke his license and included several letters from other attorneys and former clients in support of his request.