Gag order imposed on Akron woman who called husband’s co-defendant a snitch in federal cocaine case

March 1, 2018 GMT

Gag order imposed on Akron woman who called husband’s co-defendant a snitch in federal cocaine case

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A federal judge on Thursday imposed a gag order on the wife of an Akron man facing drug trafficking charges, after the wife posted a picture of a co-defendant who pleaded guilty on Facebook and implied that he was a snitch.

Brittany Miller, wife of Clifford Miller, posted the photo Tuesday evening, the same day Andre Perdue pleaded guilty and made statements in open court that implicated his co-defendants. She took it down less than two hours later, after her husband protested.

But the damage from Brittany’s Miller’s post, which consisted of Perdue’s picture accompanied by 10 rats and text that identified him as “the face of a man who lied in the courtroom and turned state evidence!!” was already done, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry DiBaggis said Perdue and his family received threats after the post, and police put marked cars outside the home where Perdue was staying.

“The clear implication is that Mr. Perdue is a rat and it’s affecting Mr. Miller’s case,” DiBaggis told the judge during a hearing Thursday.

He asked U.S. District Judge Dan Polster to revoke Clifford Miller’s bond, but the judge declined. He reasoned that it wasn’t Clifford Miller’s actions that caused problems, and Clifford Miller said he didn’t know his wife was going to make any posts about the case.

The judge admonished Brittany Miller and ordered her not to talk about her husband’s case with anyone other than immediate family. If she does, he’ll lock her up for as long as he sees fit, Polster said.

“It better not happen again, or else you’ll be a guest of the attorney general for a very long time,” Polster warned her.

Clifford Miller, along with his brother Michael and Perdue, were indicted in June and charged with conspiring to buy large amounts of cocaine from outside Akron to deal in and around the city. State and federal authorities built their case over a few years and tapped the phones of the defendants.

Clifford Miller, a 40-year-old tattoo artist and handyman, has previous convictions for drug trafficking and a firearms offense. If found guilty of the charges, he faces 10 years to life in federal prison. He is free on electronic monitoring.

On Tuesday, during the hearing when his longtime friend Perdue pleaded guilty, Clifford Miller stood up and accused Perdue of lying, according to a motion DiBaggis filed Wednesday.

That night, after making the initial Facebook post Brittany Miller also replied to a comment on the post and said “Yea share this s--t,” prosecutors say.

For her part, Brittany Miller apologized while on the stand Thursday. She said that she was lashing out because she was angry and hurt because she believed Perdue was lying in his plea. She also said Perdue’s actions are tearing her family apart.

While she conceded that the post was to label Perdue a rat and a snitch, she didn’t think the post was a big deal.

“I didn’t think I was affecting the case at all,” she said.

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