Copyright Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin Dec 21, 1993
Asst. Atty. Gen. David Morowitz, who has been the lead prosecutor in the state’s case against a Cumberland family accused of running a crime ring, yesterday announced he will leave the attorney general’s office at the end of next month to enter private practice with the firm of Decof & Grimm.
Morowitz, who has worked almost exclusively on the case since police raided the Burt family’s compound in June, last week unsuccessfully sought higher bail for a Burt son, Dennis, 29, asserting that he had a "mission" to kill Morowitz and witnesses if freed.
Morowitz said yesterday that his leaving the attorney general’s office had "absolutely nothing" to do with the death threat he said he had received.
Asst. Atty. Gen. Carl Levin will take over the complicated case, which involves a dozen defendants, as many as 100 witnesses and alleged crimes that date back at least a decade.
"It’s not going to hurt it at all," Morowitz said when asked whether his departure will affect the prosecution. "It may even help the case; it will be a different perspective. (Levin) will have more energy when it starts."
Walter and Frances Burt and 10 members of their extended family and coterie of associates have been accused of participating in a criminal empire run from their compound at 2570 Mendon Rd.
A 158-count indictment handed up by a Providence County grand jury accuses the family of managing an extortion, arson-for-profit, sexual assault and kidnapping ring that terrorized dozens of people in northern Rhode Island.
The trial is scheduled to begin June 6, but Morowitz said the attorney general’s office will ask that it start by May 24; if the case does not begin within six months of the defendants’ Nov. 24 arraignment, they will be eligible for bail.
Several key defendants – Walter and Frances Burt and their son, Raymond, 30 – are being held at the Adult Correctional Institutions without bail.
Last week, Superior Court Judge Henry Gemma Jr. refused to change the $150,000 bail set for Dennis Burt.
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