Judge restricts what jury can hear in illegal baby adoption case
By Dan Wilson
for The Northwestern
APPLETON — An Outagamie County jury will not be told that Danny Vu, charged with trying to arrange an illegal adoption of his child, faces a similar charge in Brown County.
In a blow to the prosecution, Circuit Judge Mark McGinnis ruled Wednesday that telling the jury about a similar allegation in Green Bay would be prejudicial.
Vu, 37, Green Bay is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 13 on a charge of soliciting an unauthorized adoption of a child. Authorities say he tried to arrange the adoption of his 18-month-old daughter with a Grand Chute family for $7,000.
After the case came to light in April, a Brown County couple came forward to say they received a similar solicitation just four days prior to the alleged Grand Chute incident. They said Vu asked for $10,000 to arrange the adoption.
The Brown County case is tracking about one month behind the Outagamie County case and is scheduled for trial on March 14.
Outagamie County Dist. Atty. Carrie Schneider argued that telling the jury about the Brown County solicitation would demonstrate that Vu was actively trying to peddle his daughter and not simply engaging in an innocent conversation about adoption.
“I think he was attempting to negotiate to see who would give him money first and who would give him the most,” Schneider said. “But for the county line the two cases are not being tried together.”
McGinnis’ ruling allows defense attorney Gene Bartman to argue his client was not actively seeking to give up his daughter for money and was just discussing the possibility of adoption with another family.
McGinnis said alerting the jury to the pending Brown County case “would be unfairly prejudicial to Mr. Vu in this case.”