The lead detective in the YNW Melly double murder case is under investigation over an incident with a potential witness, according to a court filing from Wednesday. But a police spokesperson says the detective only had a complaint made against him.
Defense attorney Stuart Adelstein requested that Broward Circuit Court Judge John Murphy order prosecutors to turn over all documents about the investigation into Miramar Police Detective Mark Moretti. Under Florida law, the state is required to disclose any information that may be favorable to the defense.
“The Defense team has recently learned that the lead detective, Detective M. Moretti is under investigation and that an assistant state attorney has given a statement concerning an incident involving excessive force used by him against a potential witness in this case,” defense attorney Stuart Adelstein said in the filing.
Adelstein also urged Murphy to have prosecutors turn over the information within 10 days. He also asked for the assistant state attorney’s statement — and her name.
The court filing didn’t delve into the nature of the incident between Moretti and the potential witness.
Melly, whose real name is Jamell Demons, is accused of gunning down his childhood friends Anthony Williams and Christopher Thomas Jr. in an alleged drive-by cover-up after spending the night of Oct. 26, 2018, at a Fort Lauderdale recording studio. Williams and Thomas, aspiring rappers with the YNW collective, were known as YNW Sakchaser and YNW Juvy, respectively.
Miramar police spokesperson Tania Rues told the Miami Herald Thursday that the department received on July 12 a complaint about Moretti from the attorney of Jamie King, who is Melly’s mother. The detective, she confirmed, currently isn’t under investigation.
“Our office is looking into the complaint, as we do with all complaints,” Rues said in an email.
Moretti, Rues said, is a “highly decorated detective” who has been with the department for more than 20 years. She also said Moretti has an “unblemished record” and has never been the target of any administrative investigations.
Moretti, throughout Melly’s first trial, was constantly under fire by the rapper’s defense team.
During the final days of the trial, which ended with a hung jury and a mistrial, Adelstein accused Moretti in open court of threatening potential witnesses in the case, including Melly’s manager Track, whose real name is Jameson Francois.
Moretti, who sat on the stand with a blank expression on his face, admitted that he told Francois he would be deported and sent to a crowded Haitian jail. He also said he interviewed Francois at the Krome detention center in Miami-Dade.
During cross examination of the lead detective who investigated the double murder case involving @YNWMelly, the detective admitted he threatened several witnesses in the case. pic.twitter.com/yZLBhaEAVP
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) July 17, 2023
Adelstein claimed that Moretti continuously threatened Francois, going as far as telling Francois that he would not be fed or receive medicine in a “disease-ridden,” “s---hole” Haitian jail.
“Do you think threatening a witness who tells you something you don’t like really gets to the truth?” Adelstein said.
What else is going on in the case?
Last week, Adelstein asked Murphy to consider setting a bond for Melly before his second trial begins on Oct. 9 with jury selection. For the first time, Melly’s legal team requested an Arthur hearing, which allows judges to set bonds for defendants charged with crimes that aren’t eligible for bail.
During the hearing, prosecutors must establish that they have proof greater than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Melly’s Arthur hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15.