Keeping Quiet

09/11/2009
By Doug

Speak No Evil — Updated x 2: WaPo & New Video, Bernie Grimm Misspoke?

The most telling moment in Friday’s status hearing may have well happened before the judge even entered the chamber.

Defendants Zaborsky, Price and Ward seemed in good spirits outside Room 318, huddled with defense attorneys Robert Spagnoletti, Bernie Grimm, Thomas Connolly, David Schertler and several of their supporters.

Taking their seats in the courtroom, the court reporter leaned in and asked, “Mr.Price, Ward and Zaborsky won’t be speaking much?”  Bernie Grimm shot back, “If we can help it, they won’t say a word.”  Joe laughed.  And that pretty much sums up the day’s hearing and the larger defense strategy as it takes shape.

Judge Frederick Weisberg gaveled the hearing in at 2:05 with what he called “good news”; namely the slimming down of contested items from a fat document to a relatively thin one.

Ward departs courthouse

Dylan Ward

Spagnoletti, on the clock for Ward led off with “Item C” arguing the government produce the radio transmissions of the responding emergency personnel, saying given the critical time line in play – and questions when Robert might have received those multiple puncture wounds – the defense must have the complete radio chatter.

AUSA Patrick Martin, subbing for the absent Glenn Kirshner, suggested that some of those personnel may be witnesses at trial, and therefore the transmissions should not be subject to blanket discovery.  Weisberg, armed with the same good cheer but slightly less patience than before, prodded the defense to provide more specifics rather than expect the wholesale transmissions.

Next, “Item E” – documents requested by the defense that have been redacted by the government.  Namely, the MPD officers’ handwritten notes from the night of the murder.  The redactions, argued Spagnoletti, were specifically of words by the defendants, putting the defense at a serious disadvantage.  Martin suggested the specific redactions were actually those of witnesses characterizing words by the defendants – Officer Diane Durham anyone?  In the end, both sides agreed a “discreet number” of documents were in play, and the government would produce them by next Wednesday.

Price departs courthouse

Joe Price

Price counsel Bernie Grimm was next, helming the complicated task of the DNA testing and documentation.  He addressed “Item D” – the list of potential expert witnesses the government may call, their qualifications, and what they may say.  Martin argued that “…about 95% of the experts names…” have already been identified, as has their likely testimony based on their reported work.

With little disagreement, Judge Weisberg prodded both sides to step up their game on producing their respective experts.

Next, Grimm turned up the heat a notch on the subject of evidence and testing.  “Our tests are in a holding pattern,” argued Grimm, all but saying the government was keeping the defense from access to key pieces of evidence, and raising the specter of potential biased testing procedures.  Grimm admitted the defense team has hired multiple evidence experts, on the East  and West Coasts.

In this matter Martin seemed a bit off his game, relying more on citing the government’s positions and intentions rather than vigorously promoting the government’s position.   Weisberg entertained both sides of the question, but it was Grimm who won the point saying that out of the 270 total pieces of evidence gathered, the defense only needed 26.

(UPDATED): It was at this point in the discussion, and for the second time, we heard Bernie Grimm refer to this as a “homicide case.”  This interview with WRC-TV’s Michael Flynn following the April 24 status hearing, was the first instance.  Maybe Bernie misspoke or maybe he’s planning ahead. 

Zaborsky Connolly depart courthouse

Victor Zaborsky and Thomas Connolly

Attorney Connolly representing Victor Zaborsky asked for a thirty second conference with Martin to see if it could be worked out.  “Connolly’s the conciliator…that’s good,” joked Weisberg.  In the end, no deal, leaving Weisberg to say he was willing to protect the defense’s position on this question, pressing both sides to “…work it out.”  In the end, the defense will be able to inspect the contested evidence and, if further tests are desired, an order would be worked out.

Connolly then took command; the defense team saved the best for the last.  Repeatedly calling the allegations of torture and use of paralytic agents “outrageous”, he said the government had failed to conduct the tests on the remaining sample of Wone’s blood that is left – a very small amount – in violation of the May 22nd agreement.  “Choose the eight or nine agents to test for, and let’s end this,” he said, allowing that the defense again would agree to allow the government consume the remaining 3-4cc’s for any tests they wished.

Responded Martin: “If we had a 100 cc’s left, things would be different.”  There are hundreds of potential paralytic agents he said, and the prosecution does not want to conduct such a high-stakes search for the proverbial needle in a haystack.  Weisberg at one point said, “I’m not asking for more work… I’d like you two to work this out.”

“Fail to test at your own peril,” Weisberg warned Martin.  The judge’s patience waning, said he would not allow the government to present a case for using paralytic agents with the current lack of evidence.

The Scene:

While waiting for the hearing room door to be unlocked, Schertler and Connolly acknowledged and greeted us, both in good spirits and friendly.

Unlike past status hearings, there were empty seats today inside Judge Weisberg’s hearing room although the defendants’ supporters were numerous, both men and women, younger and older, including the biological mother of Joe and Victor’s children, Kim Musheno.  Notably absent was Price’s younger brother, Michael. Kathy Wone and her counsel Ben Razi of Covington made their way in shortly before the proceedings began.

Before the gavel fell, the court bailiff asked for all spectators to turn off their cell phones and Blackberrys, scotching our plans to provide a live twitter feed.  We pulled the plugs and undeterred excused ourselves several times during the hearing so we could file updates from the hallway.

The seating arrangement up front had Price in the middle, between Zaborsky and Ward.  All were dressed in various shares of dark suits, and throughout the hearing remained focused.  Joe sporting a pink tie, seemed the most engaged, taking notes throughout; Victor closely watching the action and Dylan sober and face forward.  The only reaction out of place came about ten minutes into arguments with the first discussion of the possible paralytic injections: Joe appeared to grow agitated for a short time…just a little twitchy.

Check back for updates here through the weekend.  Look for a Monday post on motions filed this summer including the statement of Diane Durham, the first MPD officer on the scene.

Judge Weisberg scheduled the next status hearing for Friday, November 6th at 2:00pm.  We’ll be on site and hope to get clearance from the judge to allow for real-time updates from his courtroom.

As usual, Legal Times’ ace reporter Mike Scarcella is first to file.

(UPDATED) The Washington Post treatment in the Saturday edition is Keith Alexander’s piece found on page B-3 of the Metro section in the Regional Briefing.

The Sights:

Joe Price, David Schertler and Bernie Grimm depart the Moultrie Courthouse:

Zaborsky and Ward greet and talk with supporters a block away from the courthouse steps:

(UPDATED) Additional Sights:

Dylan Ward leaving the courthouse with supporters:

 

Joe Price leaving courthouse withcounsel Bernie Grimm and David Schertler:

-posted by the Editors

103 Responses to “ Keeping Quiet ”

  1. corgivet on 09/11/2009 at 7:33 PM

    Thanks for the blow by blow reporting guys….

  2. She did it on 09/11/2009 at 7:49 PM

    be careful what you ask for; sometimes you may actually get it. i requested a photo of dylan ward; and it appears. yikes, middle age sucks! i bet you could land a plane on that forehead. not nearly as attractive as i once thought. joe looks like he has let himself go (aggressively); and victor appears to be holding it together rather nicely.

    need time to digest legal significance of the hearing – but concerns abound about the judge and the police department.

    GREAT JOB, TEAM!!!!

    • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 8:24 PM

      Editors, thank you!

      Joe, think about a bigger suit. I know it was expensive – it just doesn’t fit. We know it’s no fun at Hard Bodies right now (if they DO look your way, it’s “aren’t you the guy who. . .” before turning away) but it’s cheaper than the new wardrobe. Perhaps Needham will take you shopping when they go back-to-school shopping for Dyl. If not, reach for the next size up when you’re fanning through the neck sizes in the Target shirt section – you may feel nostalgia for the size you “used to” wear, but not at the expense of looking like a bullfrog in a choke hold.

      Don’t take my word for it – watch the video of yourself walking down the street. It looks like a balloon animal, that someone squeezed your knees and all the air went up; your jacket buttons are about to pop off and your head is about to explode. Not to add insult to injury, but when the pants are too tight, they get yanked up a bit and that nice break across the shoe top is gone. Sock a-plenty while you stroll. Dude, not good.

      • She did it on 09/11/2009 at 8:40 PM

        Bea, no need for joe to button that suit coat – the tightness may not have been as noticeable if it were not buttoned.

        • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 8:46 PM

          But then he’d have the fat-guy-can’t-button-his-jacket look.

          • She did it on 09/11/2009 at 8:55 PM

            Bea: query how much he had to suck it in to get the pants zipped and buttoned. is aunt marcia short one panty girdle today?

            • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 9:01 PM

              She ain’t gonna be able to use it when it turns up all stretched out.

              • rose on 09/12/2009 at 1:27 AM

                Wow, really? Fat jokes? That’s where we are in this now?

                • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 2:32 AM

                  Hi Rose,
                  Sorry to offend – typically I would be loathe to poke fun at someone’s appearance, and weight in particular, but I don’t regret making fun of Joe Price’s appearance at the hearing today given his self-aggrandizing history.

                • She did it on 09/12/2009 at 7:45 AM

                  rose, if you think that fat jokes is where we are at in this then you have blinders on that are bigger than anything the ward supporters have been wearing for his entire life. get with program, rose. deal with inconvenient evidence, darling – and stop shielding dyl from responsibilty/accountability for the events/non-events of his life.

                  • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 10:39 AM

                    And, from the side view of that developing turkeyneck, there is much more of Joe for Dyl and Vicki to love, and there is less chance that they would have to share him with random strangers off the street. Only putting even more pounds (and the threat of imprisonment) could apparently produce fidelity on the part of the formerly libertine lawyer.

                  • rose on 09/12/2009 at 10:21 PM

                    What? I don’t know why you think I side with them. I just think making stupid jokes about their appearances lessens the seriousness of what they are accused of doing and what we all want – someone held responsible for Robert Wone’s death. I just don’t see why we have to go the way of commenters on youtube.

                    • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 11:33 PM

                      Hi rose,

                      Humor is a natural part and parcel of the mourning, advocating, and galvanizing process. More specifically, hoisting the defendants on their own (allegedly) A-list, gay male petards — a key ingredient in demystifying the trouple — involves humorous and, at times, harsh assessments of their appearance, dress, and manners, all of which are/were especially important to their (former) milieu. Finally, such attempts at humor, however successful, do not detract from the precise, erudite, and high-minded forays on this blog into the law, forensics, medicine, pharmacology, literary criticism, psychology, sociology, queer theory, and, my own pursuit, history, among the other disciplines.

                      P.S. You are probably too young to remember that fat acceptance is/was a feminist issue, but the kind of sexual violence and its cover-up in this case, to me, far outweighs the ruffling of Mr. Price’s feathers with both conventional and, at times, creative fat jokes. XO, Clio.

        • Clio on 09/11/2009 at 8:58 PM

          From the video, Victor looked animated and gracious, but the other two are not aging gracefully. I liked Dylan’s blue-on-blue ensemble, but his lined face looked much older than Jack Benny’s 39. And, Joe, well, he can forget about even alt.com now for finding his occasional gentleman callers! His “man in the mirror” needs a larger mirror and a better tailor!

          • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 9:05 PM

            From a distance, Dylan looks like a Young Men’s Suits model – small and boyish – but he ain’t ready for his close-up. Still, Joe’s impression of Jack in the Jack-in-the-Box commercials (west coast only?) takes the cake. Only that guy isn’t squeezed into a 42 reg.

            • CDinDC on 09/11/2009 at 10:29 PM

              His collar is so tight his face is turning red.

              And Joe, well, he’s got himself an extra chin.

              • Clio on 09/11/2009 at 10:56 PM

                And, no reporter can ever characterize Dylan as a “boy-toy” ever again. That tan from working in Aunt Marcia’s yard makes the massage therapist look as if he were Needham’s slightly younger brother than being, in actuality, the good doctor’s prodigal son.

    • AnnaZed on 09/12/2009 at 12:42 AM

      Ah yes, the elfin trickster gamine is gone and what remains is that most depressing of visage; the middle aged boy with the receding hairline and the grooved forehead like Ron Howard without the charm, intelligence and ability to finish something that he has started.

      Maybe team House-mates is right (but doesn’t know why): Robert was killed by an elf.

    • Nick on 09/12/2009 at 10:51 AM

      Really, I think he looks better without the crazy eyes

    • dianne on 12/25/2011 at 5:09 PM

      why must every one feel the reason to say such hurtful thingg i think dylans forehead looks fine just another bashing seshion wich is not helping anything im sure this is exactly what the wone family thinks is going to help with finding the truth by talking about ones forehead. i mean really this is so retarded to me.

      • susan on 12/25/2011 at 6:18 PM

        Hi Dianne,

        Awhile back I remember posting that I didn’t think it was nice the comments some made re the guys’ physical characteristics, but people who knew Robert Wone, the young husband, son, friend, community volunteer, classmate and attorney, and who’ve followed the case and watched day by day how the three residents of 1509 Swann Street–which included your cousin, Dylan Ward–on the night of August 2, 2006, put up a wall between themselves and cooperation in finding out how Robert Wone was murdered that night and by whom.

        No one agrees with any one theory, not all posters agree, and the posters come from all regions and all connections to the case. But when you look at the total, absolute lack of cooperation with all those guys, including your cousin, in the lead up to the civil trial, it is really objectionable.

        The only reason sex toys come into play on this board is because your cousin’s “slave” J. Price, had a thing for torture–his word, not mine, and there is evidence that Mr. Wone may have been sexually abused and restrained that night.

        • susan on 12/25/2011 at 6:20 PM

          that second sentence needs an ending. After “by wbom” it should say are angry. The justice who heard the case appeared the same. After the night of the murder when they were taken in for questioning that night by police, starting the very next morning, the big Swann 3 Wall went up. It’s been up since.

  3. Anonymous Friend on 09/11/2009 at 9:01 PM

    In the video of Joe leaving court, the attorney with whom he’s walking says “What bothers me …” and then something like “this judge …” – can anyone make it out? Did our interpid reporters hear what he said? (No attorney-client privilege if they said in public, right?)

  4. Anonymous Friend on 09/11/2009 at 9:13 PM

    I’d appreciate comments from the lawyers out there regarding the judge’s ruling – or at least intimation of how he will rule – on the paralytic agent argument. Why can’t the prosecution use circumstantial evidence like the needle marks and lack of defensive wounds to make this argument? What’s his basis for excluding the evidence/argument?

    And if it is precluded, how much do you think that impacts the prosecution’s case? They’re not being tried for murder … isn’t the paralytic argument really used to make the murder scene/plot/execution plausible? Can’t the prosecution prove the criminal case without proving whether Robert was drugged? There still is the alleged missing evidence, clean-up, etc., no? Or do you see the paralytic argument as necessary for the obstruction/tampering/conspiracy counts, too? I was really worried at first, but I’m starting to think whether Robert was given a paralytic is not as material to the charges in play as I had thought it was. Please help me think this through … I don’t want to miss a critical step. Thanks, as usual.

    • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 10:11 PM

      Themis and others will likely offer more, but one thing I want to emphasize is that this early stage – criminal or civil – the judge’s job from a practical perspective is to move the case along. They may give indications which ruffle one/both sides, but sometimes it’s to push the sides in the right directions (as in the DA needs to test the blood already). There will be many motions and lots of compromises. As to whether the paralytic evidence will come in, I am guessing that the DA is doing some homework on which tests have the best shot at revealing the correct trace elements, and the judge’s comments, while on their face troublesome, don’t mean that he won’t ultimately allow it. What happens if it’s not allowed? The DA tries to prove his case without it – many if not most trials go forward with some “suppressed” evidence and that’s not the be-all end-all as it may seem on TV shows. I’m not saying it would hurt – it would – but as you point out, the charges pending relate to tampering and conspiracy, i.e. the blood didn’t clean itself.

      • Themis on 09/11/2009 at 10:28 PM

        Bea,

        You obviously engage in some litigation, even if that is not your primary area of practice. As for getting rid of certain evidence, that can can accrue to the benefit of either side depending upon the other evidence.

        From a practical perspective, judges want to smooth the process. To that end, they will make preliminary rulings that force the opposing parties to either reach accommodations or streamline their theories. I think the latter is what is uppermost on Weisberg’s mind.

        Good judges don’t want to be overruled, don’t want to force the jury to engage in needless deliberations, and, as a human matter, don’t want to make their own lives more complicated than necessary. Which is why judge’s hate discovery disputes that could, in good faith, be resolved among reasonable people. If you can’t resolve it, preserve it.

        Pissing off the trial judge doesn’t get you very far; so don’t do it if there are any alternative routes to get you what you want. The goal is to win the war, not the particular skirmish.

        I know this will not set well with some, but my research has convinced me that Weisberg is an intelligent judge who favors neither side but is cautious about being reversed. As a criminal defense attorney, that is usually the best that I can ask for…except for a judge that is easily overwhelmed or intimidated.

        And though I would hope that justice, whatever that may be, is had in this case, I do not apologize for being a criminal defense attorney. By serving my client, I help reign in overzealous investigation and prosecution. I don’t know how many readers remember Brandon Mayfield, but google him and you’ll get the idea.

        • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 10:51 PM

          Themis, we are definitely on the same page. Been a while since I did litigation, but I know the drill. More of made of these pretrials than is warranted – at least the hanging on the judge’s every word. They are smart (for the most part) and do whatever it takes to make things ‘move’. Sometimes – this may surprise some – they even manipulate a bit to get the sides to start talking about resolution of the outstanding issues. There’s never been a criminal or civil case I worked on through trial where the judge hasn’t “sort of” reversed himself in terms of the initial ‘leading comments’ during pretrials meant to streamline the process. In other words, just because he implied the paralytics won’t come in doesn’t mean jack in terms of the final ruling.

          Good to know that your research turned up his fairness. I don’t mind at all that he hates being overruled – that means he’s CAREFUL and learns the LAW. It works both ways – if these three defendants are guilty, and are deemed ‘guilty’ by the jury, it would be rotten if the verdict was overturned on appeal.

          By the way, I worked for the Public Defender’s Office in law school, so I respect what you do without reservation – and I know, too, the cases which get you on an emotional level and those where you want to provide as good a defense as possible but in your heart know that some deserve to go to jail.

    • Craig on 09/12/2009 at 1:10 PM

      Anon Friend – We were wondering the same thing last night – How any of the evidence of injections/torture can impact the conspiracy and obstruction charges. I’m just catching up so maybe this has been addressed by some of our in-house counsel here. It’s a topic we’ll want to dig deeper into as this moves forward.

      • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 2:20 PM

        Without having all of the necessary discovery and/or investigation before me, and playing prosecutor for a change, I would argue it goes to the timeline. And it could play into certain theories regarding why someone in the house would murder Robert. Thinking as a judge (I clerked for four years) or a defense attorney, I would say that the timeline could be established by more reliable evidence and given the absence of forensic support, the paralytic theory is just that–a theory.

        It is usefull to keep in mind that motive is not an element of the charged offenses, though state of mind is.

  5. chris on 09/11/2009 at 9:45 PM

    has anyone discussed the possibility of the “clean” wounds and shirt holes are because the intruder stabbed a sleeping Wone inthe heart FIRST, killing him instantly, therefor no movement, defense wounds, or jagged wounds.

    • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 10:02 PM

      Hi Chris,
      I don’t know if you really mean “intruder” or if that includes one/more of the trio, but I’ll go with “intruder”. The autopsy narrative states that the stab wounds did not kill him instantly. If the “intruder” stabbed a sleeping Robert Wone, it’s unlikely he’d dip a different knife into the blood and take the real weapon with him. Because Robert would not have been killed instantly, unless he was paralyzed he’d have at the least reached for his own chest and have some blood on his body and on the bed – it was surmised that wounds of that nature would have produced a good amount of blood not present on Robert or the bed. Then there’s the many “logic” questions of why an intruder would pass Dylan’s room to kill a guest; how the intruder got in and traveled in and out without detection; why the intruder stopped to clean up blood; how Robert’s semen got in his anus (not rectum); why Robert had at least 9, possibly more, needle marks on numerous places of his body (did the intruder enjoy stabbing a dead man with an empty syringe and would that seem a good use of time under the circumstances?).

      If you mean did Joe/Dylan stab a sleeping Robert Wone, then I don’t see the why (in addition to all the above questions). By no account was there animosity between the men and Robert.

      Thoughts?

      • AnnaZed on 09/11/2009 at 10:09 PM

        Bea, by “intruder” he means elves.

        • Bea on 09/11/2009 at 10:25 PM

          There is a site for finding out one’s “elf” name by typing in your real name (proving, unequivocally, that there is a website for everything). If one types in “Joe Price,” his official elf name is:

          BATTSY FLUFFSY-PAWS

          I kid you not. See http://www.jokesunlimited.com/christmas_elf_name.php

          “Dylan Ward” is:

          MERRY BING-A-LING

          “Victor Zaborsky” is:

          CHEERFUL BUBBA-LOUIE

          Me, I’d have pegged Dylan for “Battsy”. Victor is “Cheerful” enough in today’s video. And, well, Joe’s more Mary than Merry, but the “Fluffsy-Paws” kind of works. Which makes me ask myself ‘which of Joe’s chins is my favorite?’

          Boy, am I snarky tonight.

          • CDinDC on 09/11/2009 at 10:42 PM

            Bea, you are snarky tonight and I love it!! LOL

            • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:23 AM

              CD, to quote you, <>!!!

              • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:24 AM

                Somehow the quote was lost – it read “insert sound of crickets”!

    • CDinDC on 09/11/2009 at 10:52 PM

      Chris, most likely, the shirt (and shirt holes) would be saturated with blood if the scenario you suggest had actually happened.

    • Lee on 09/11/2009 at 11:15 PM

      Hi Anonymous Friend,

      I haven’t practiced criminal law in about 15 years, and I rarely litigate, but I think I can answer one of your questions. One basis for excluding evidence is that it is “more prejudicial than probative”. That means that it’s more likely (often because juries react from their hearts as well as their heads) to sway the jury in a direction or to a degree that isn’t warranted by a logical assesment of the evidence. For instance sometimes a judge disallows visually disturbing photographs of a crime scene because the human response to being emotionally overwhelmed can get pinned (in a juror’s subconcious mind I guess) to the defendant, without waiting for the brain to decide whether or not the defendant is the one who caused the egregious outcome.

      So if the judge looks at the drug use by the defendants and thinks that would make the jury find them more likely to be guilty because “drugs are bad” rather than because they committed the acts (or covered them up), he may not allow that evidence.

      I’m open to being corrected here – evidence class was a long time ago and I probably got a B-.

    • AnnaZed on 09/12/2009 at 1:19 AM

      Hi Chris,

      In all seriousness ~ no, the scenario that you advance has not been much discussed on this site because it simply doesn’t conform to the known facts. Robert was alive for some time after he was stabbed, long enough to begin to digest his own blood. In addition the shirt was not drenched in blood as it would have been under the conditions that you are asking that we consider.

  6. Ex-Foxer on 09/11/2009 at 11:30 PM

    I can vouch that Joe has put on A LOT of weight since he was at Arent. He’s let his hair grow out some, too.

    • AnnaZed on 09/12/2009 at 11:38 AM

      Wait a minute, how can I get my spelling fixed on my posts long after the fact?

  7. Clio on 09/12/2009 at 12:00 AM

    I was disappointed (although not surprised) that Kim decided to drop the mask and to join Team Price officially, although at least she had the sense not to take Alec out of school to see his daddy’s predicament/weight gain/bad hair. Those Price genes, on second thought and after seeing the above video clip, were probably not the best that she could have selected, but I guess she’s doing the best with what she has. Something tells me, though, that they’re not the “all very close, very much involved, one big happy family” as described in the USA Today article of 2004. For the kids’ sake, let us hope that their parents are really not close at all.

    • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:39 AM

      I thought that the clip showed someone who looked like it could have been Kim – verified? Arggh. I was hoping she’d be bending Victor’s ear constantly to do the right thing so the boys could have ONE father not morally bankrupt. How can Joe convince otherwise intelligent people that the “intruder” story makes sense? Did they not read the Affidavit or does he have an answer (and expensive expert witnesses) to “explain” each contrary fact? For good measure – THEMIS, you may disagree – but if you look long enough, and have a big enough bank account – it seems one can find an expert to opine on nearly every ridiculous position. I had an old boss to referred to ‘experts’ as a whole as ‘whores’. Must note, however, that I have been an expert witness in IP law several times BUT I have turned down as many cases as I’ve taken for the simple reason that I could not give them the opinion they wanted. It seems particularly bad among medical professionals – I think back to the Scott Peterson trial when the physician took the stand to opine that the baby would have been “born” by the time of “death” (some ridiculous theory that Laci had been abducted by a child-market) but was nearly laughed off the stand because he couldn’t do the math of gestation. That’s MY genuine fear in this case, that the experts will be opining all sorts of nonsense favoring our middle-aged boys.

      • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 9:04 AM

        The sight of academic Hessians telling our Dorian Grays everything that they (or Needham) has paid to hear is beyond reprehensible, but perhaps the advice of their forensic experts will be as useful as their hair and make-up artists.

        On the other hand, I must say that Mr. Martin for the government was apparently not operating with all his cylinders firing yesterday. In this theater of the absurd, we do need our own legal thespians to be at the top of their game, even if the MPD’s flubs have forever limited their effectiveness of their lines.

        • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 9:45 AM

          As for experts, only a fool of an attorney would hire a true whore. (I won’t say what I think of Geragos as an attorney; I wouldn’t want to be hit with a defamation suit). Once you lose your credibility with the jury on one issue, you may as well put a fork in the roast because it is cooked.

          When I did trial work, I tried to retain experts who had testified for both sides and who earned only a portion of their income from serving as a trial expert. And I would always ask, “So how many times have you been retained by defense counsel? And how many times has counsel actually called you to testify? What are some of the reasons that counsel would decide not to call you?” I also always did “due diligence” on an expert to see if she had any problems in her past, especially ones that were not voluntarily disclosed.

          Having the good fortune to be a public defender, I could also ask, “What is your normal hourly rate when you are privately retained? And what hourly rate are you being paid for your work on this case?” Or, even better, “Are you being paid for your work on this case? Why did you agree to work on the case for free?”

          As for Martin, et al, following is my post on another thread:

          Thanks to the gang for all of their efforts. They are fabulous hosts by the way, even more engaging in person than they are online.

          Although I am a defense attorney, what worries me about this case as much as the muck ups by the MPD is the fact that it seems to bounce around the US Attorney’s Office with no one person really in charge. That is a recipe for disaster. Someone needs to know the case inside and out and plan trial strategy. Somebody needs to be the government’s face on the case so to speak.

          No public defender’s office of any merit would pass a case around the way this one has been passed around by the US Attorney’s Office. It would be tantamount to malpractice. Long and short of it–someone needs to know the file and someone needs to be in charge of strategic decisions (and hopefully tactical ones as well unless there is a very cohesive team).

          That is not to say Robert is more important than other homicide victims. Rather, the point is that every homicide case deserves to have a dedicated prosecutor absent extraordinary circumstances, just as no indigent defendant should be passed off from public defender to public defender (or private court appointed counsel).

      • CDinDC on 09/12/2009 at 10:41 AM

        Here is a really sweet photo of Kim and her partner Catherine, and their first son. I don’t think I saw either in the videos.

        http://www.hrc.org/issues/3785.htm

        • Nelly on 09/12/2009 at 12:33 PM

          Hmm. I would love to know what Joe and Victor have told Alec’s mothers about what supposedly happened the night that Robert was murdered. Are they all still one big happy family? How will they explain this all to cute little Alec?

          “We also spend a lot of time with his biological father and our close friend, Joseph, and his partner, Victor, who are actively involved in Alec’s life. Alec adores them and cherishes his time with them. Both Joseph and Victor’s parents are also involved with their grandson and us. It’s truly a big, happy and supportive family environment for our son. He is showered with more love than most children are lucky to know.”

          • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:25 PM

            I believe the second son is the bio child of Victor.

          • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 1:54 PM

            Yuck! I wonder if Kim and Joe still differ on parenting; in the USA Today article, Joe gently chides Kim for “pampering” Alec. The mannered nature of that exchange and the artificial “togetherness” of the excerpt above make one suspect that yet another cover story is being put forth. Does Joe’s spin cycle ever cease?

            It does take a village to raise a child, but, it is a particularly strange village which is raising Alec and his sibling. Aunt Marcia and Kim, take note!

        • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:23 PM

          I wish I knew if Kim was the woman standing to the right of the group for a while who then embraces the boys toward the end. It does look like it might be. Clio??

          • Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:28 PM

            Whoops – see now the article confirms that she was there. Damn. C’mon Kim.

        • CuriousInVa on 09/12/2009 at 2:36 PM

          So is that little boy Victor’s son? Can’t remember the scenario – one child is Victor’s and one is Joe’s but same two mothers?

          • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 3:00 PM

            Based upon the USA Today valentine, I will venture a guess on this twenty-first century genealogy: Alec, the oldest, is Joe’s son via Kim; the second sibling is Victor’s child (gender?) via Kim. So, even though Vicki is somewhat older than Joe, he has the younger child (biologically, of course.) Hope that helps!

  8. Bea on 09/12/2009 at 1:26 AM

    Was it me (in my horrendously snarky mood) or was Joe’s hair particularly bad? Like he woke up and realized he should have gotten a haircut last week and decided to over-product the sides and let the top do whatever it wanted.

    • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 9:55 AM

      His hair was especially dreadful, Bea. Even Bernie probably noticed.

      Is Joe’s embrace of his younger brother’s frumpiness (perhaps refreshing under different circumstances) part of a ultra-cynical strategy to gain the sympathy of the eventual DC jury, most of whose probable members (like most average Americans) could stand to lose more than a few pounds themselves? Team Price may want jury members to (wrongly) discern that no one who was that fat and ugly could have been in the “glamorous” sex-and-drugs fast lane. Goodbye to the fashionable A-list and hello to the Golden Corral buffet may be an attempt to make the preening narcissist look less vain and more accessible (more like his down-home ancestors from east Texas.)

  9. AnnaZed on 09/12/2009 at 2:07 PM

    OK, having come down from the excitement of yesterday I have a few slightly more level-headed (I hope) questions.

    Starting with reference to this:

    “Spagnoletti, on the clock for Ward led off with “Item C” arguing the government produce the radio transmissions of the responding emergency personnel, saying given the critical time line in play – and questions when Robert might have received those multiple puncture wounds – the defense must have the complete radio chatter.”

    Do any of you get a whiff of “defense will attempt to blame the puncture wounds that Robert sustained on some sort of post-mortem mishandling by medics” so they want a confusing sequence of chatter to bury this bizarre idea in? I know that it sounds absurd to think that emergency personnel would inject Robert multiple times (or even once) after determining that he had already lost his life before they got there, but something makes me think that Spagnoletti and Company are considering just that. The coverage in The Washington Post leads me to think that as well.

    I have been giving some serious thought to how Team Swann Street actually goes about believing (or for the sake of expediency seeming to believe) in what is known as the elves theory. So in this mental exercise I ask Dylan or Joe a question (I think that to most questions Victor can honestly simply say “I don’t know”) and try to project what kind of credible answer the men could possibly give.

    Here’s an example:

    David Schertler: Dylan, the autopsy is going to show that Robert was jabbed multiple times with a hypodermic needle in some unconventional places on his body (like his foot). Did you see or know of Robert injecting or being injected with any drugs that night?

    Dylan: Gosh, nope David. Maybe elves did that too.

    David: Well Dylan we’re going to be telling that jury that elves did an awful lot of stuff. We have to explain to the jury that elves climbed over the gate in the back, that elves got through the door, that elves sneaked past your room, that elves sexually assaulted Robert, that elves stabbed Robert with a knife from a tranchier set, that elves then cleaned Robert’s body, changed Robert’s clothes and changed Robert’s sheets, that elves positioned Robert in the bed, that elves made cuts to his shirt, that elves washed down the walls and floors and did a considerable amount of aggressive tidying, that elves then went to the kitchen and got a boning knife, whipped the boning knife with blood from a towel and left it on the bedside stand, that elves took the tranchier set knife and a bunch of other bloody stuff and sneaked by your room again and back out the back way then climbed over the gate with all of the bloody stuff. So whatever you think might have been the result of the actions of someone besides these elves might be helpful.

    Dylan: Gee I don’t know Dave, maybe those medics did that ~ jabbed Robert with hypodermic needles I mean. They do that sort of stuff. I’ve seen it on TV.

    David: Ok then, we’ll go with that.

    • Craig on 09/12/2009 at 2:27 PM

      AZed – Good eye. In July we had a post that addressed this. It was a curious comment we’d heard about the Team Swann boosters explaining away the puncture / injection wounds – either at the hands of M.E. Dr. Goslinoski or the first responders.

      We wondered back then if this was a trial ballon being floated by the defendants’ supporters. Now, months later it seems that this is a line of defense that is starting to take shape.

    • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 2:28 PM

      Actually, the radio traffic can be very important and is usually disclosed in most jurisdictions. After all, police scanners record most of it anway.

      The scanner traffic/dispatch info reveals a lot. Time of initial call; identity of first responders; arrival of homicide team; and a host of other info. It’s legitimate to ask for such info, and any push back about providing it is suspect. After all, nothing wrong, nothing to hide. The principle goes both ways. It’s a two-way street.

      • AnnaZed on 09/12/2009 at 2:39 PM

        Yes of course Themis. I am always interested in anything that you have to say ~ always. I would think that all of this would be public record even (why is it not?), but it was defense asking and prosecution seeming to seek to limit access, why?

        Is this just knee jerk on the part of Martin who maybe had not the slightest idea what was going on but worked from a default position of “if it concerns the MPD there’s bound to be something screwed up about it so I’ll just say no on principal?”

        • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 3:04 PM

          It seems tome that no one is in charge, so Martin is (probably rightly) unsure how to proceed. He’s filling shoes, not leading the charge. (Forgive my southern tendenc toward collo(cue)ialisms.)

          Also, please don’t take my observations and comments as authoritative in an way. I spent five years representing people charged with capital or non-capital first. In the span of a legal career that is not a long time. There are man who would, legitimately, disagree with some or all of m assumptions, inferences, methods, and conclusions. I doubt there is an comment I have made on this blog so far that displays any sort of sophistication or advanced knowledge. It’s really just exposure.

          If I had great defense commentary to offer, CourtTV might be knocking on my door. They’re not.

          My commentary is worth no more than any other’s.

          • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 3:07 PM

            P.S.
            It seems my “y” is also starting to go. If anyone wants to contribute to a new laptop, I am happ to to accept. ; ) A public defender’s salar only goes so far.

    • LAD on 09/14/2009 at 1:37 PM

      And don’t forget the elves also had to sneak into Dylan’s room to get the knife from the tranchier set in Dylan’s closet, while not waking him up.

  10. Clio on 09/12/2009 at 2:22 PM

    Thanks, Editors, for the additional footage; a picture (or a clip) is worth a thousand words. In one of the added videos: Who is that woman putting her arm around Dylan? Could that be Denimama, or is the young woman (dressed in black) accompanying them Mr. Ward’s only good friend?

  11. CDinDC on 09/12/2009 at 5:20 PM

    Re the new video of Dylan…..is that a Razor scooter the woman is carrying? LOL

    • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 6:34 PM

      Maybe. The women accompanying Mr. Ward out of Moultrie are the same ones who are greeting Victor and Dylan in the previous video. That hideous orange skirt on the one woman gives them both away, but the woman in that skirt was not carrying the scooter in the earlier clip. Could either one be Sarah, or her surrogate, or her successor, perhaps?

    • AnnaZed on 09/12/2009 at 7:13 PM

      Looks to me like one of those folding carts with wheels for carrying those huge briefcases that look like small file boxes that lawyers sometimes have.

      • She did it on 09/12/2009 at 8:17 PM

        lets stick with the razor scooter; much more fun. perhaps dyl rode it back to aunt marcia’s? love how the tough guy swings his skinny little arms when he walks; don’t f with him, bubba.

        • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 10:31 PM

          Really, SDI, I thought that, by swinging his arms and holding his hands out like that, Dyl may have been trying to dry his nail polish more quickly.

          Most significantly, the booze and the pills, to me, are starting to show, though — on his face! Those tell-tale lines and grooves do not lie, even if he may still do so.

          Indeed, Mr. Ward may need Oil of Olay or its equivalent immediately: Aunt Marcia, may Dylan bum some (more) wrinkle cream? Thanks in advance.

          • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 10:41 PM

            As a middle aged woman, I highly recommend Wrinkle Twinkle by Bliss, Kinerase Ultra Rich Eye Repair, Tazorac, and Anthelios Sunscreen (face and body) as a daily regimen. A round of Accutane goes along way as well, if you are aware of the nasty side effects and take it knowingly and voluntarily.

            • Clio on 09/12/2009 at 10:56 PM

              Thanks, Themis, for those tips.

              Dyl, take our advice here, and, if those beauty regimens begin to work, then you may find yourself starting to listen to similar voices on much more serious matters of truth-telling. Just give it a shot: you only have Joe’s “love” to lose!

              • Themis on 09/12/2009 at 11:07 PM

                I swear by the results, though I am pretty sure the only reason I still get carded is: (a) for a bigger tip; or (b) because everyone knows that ABC is in the house.

    • Michael on 09/13/2009 at 1:29 PM

      It is indeed a razor scooter. The woman carrying it was in the courtroom and appeared to be friends with other supporters of the Defendants, including Kim Musheno.

      - Michael, editor

      • Mike on 09/13/2009 at 6:30 PM

        Hi Michael, I hope you are recovering from your experience. I was deeply saddened to hear of it. Mend fast, and I hope the four responsible are picked up soon. (Would appreciate any updates on that case as well.)

        • Anonymous Friend on 09/13/2009 at 6:51 PM

          I’m not sure what this post is referencing …

      • AnnaZed on 09/14/2009 at 3:04 AM

        Michael, I do not know what has happened to you. Was it in a post that I somehow missed? In any case, it sounds as if you were attacked. I am so very sorry, and I hope that you are mending.

        • Nelly on 09/15/2009 at 1:24 AM

          He was attacked and beaten (robbed too?)by 4 thugs close to his home, after meeting with the other WMRW editors. It sure does sound really scary, especially since he was almost home and walking with at least one other person. Get well soon, Michael. Also, I hope it was not related to the work you do on this blog.

          • Anonymous Friend on 09/15/2009 at 5:12 AM

            Michael, I am so sorry to hear of this. I hope you are healing, physically and emotionally.

  12. Themis on 09/12/2009 at 10:36 PM

    Obviously, no one wants to touch upon the inade(cue)uacies of the US Attorney’s Office, even with ten foot pole. And I mean pole in its common sense. Anyone with a ten foot pole in the secondary or tertiary sense needs to contact the Guinness Book of World Records, a physician, or a good porno producer.

    All humor aside, I was reminded today of an idea/(cue)uote by Walt Whitman which is either chilling or enervating depending upon the situation and one’s perspective: The ecstasy is so short in the making; the memory is so long in the forgetting.

    BTW: I am paraphrasing at best. But again, I will take donations toward a new keyboard. : )

    • AnnaZed on 09/14/2009 at 3:09 AM

      Well I do Themis, I just don’t know where to start.

      Ok, for starters why was poor Mr. Martin sent to cover this important hearing? Where was Kirshner? It seems from the blow by blow that Martin was at sea more than once, and it also seems that as for round one Team Housemates takes the round. Wouldn’t you say that is the case?

  13. Themis on 09/13/2009 at 7:19 PM

    Having had a chance to review the statement of Officer Durham as it relates to her interview of Joe, I am more wary of Durham’s tale than ever before. Why?

    She is a beat cop. She arrived after the paramedics. Her account and the account of the paramedics are not completely congueent. It does not appear that she produced contemporaneous notes of any merit. Rather, she was interviewed hours after arriving at Swann Street (if you accept that the time of the statement on the police report is accurate), and signed a typewritten statement that likely was prepared by someone other than herself.

    Law enforcement officers are not angels whose credibility is taken for granted. Some can and do lie, make up evidence after the fact, and proceed on the motto that the ends justifies the means.

    I know that there are those who say the men and women in blue put their lives on the line all the time and are automatically accorded credibility. Poppycock. Police misconduct has played a large role in the convictions who are innocent. Just go the Innocence Project website you can read about wrongful convictions. I am agnostice to guilt on this case, but Officer Durham’s statement seems hinkey to me.

    In any event, Durham’s statements will only come into evidence if she testifies, which will subject her to a blistering cross-examination. Then it will be for the jury to evaluate what actually was said to her.

    P.S. Before someone accuses me of being snob, neither of my parents completeted the tenth grade; I enlisted when I was seventeen; and I worked as a campus cop when I was an undergrad. Beat cops do yeoman’s work, but they are not detectives.

    • Craig on 09/13/2009 at 7:45 PM

      Themis – Thanks for reviewing. We’ll have the document up first thing in the morning.

    • CDinDC on 09/13/2009 at 9:04 PM

      Cops lie. I’ll be the first to agree. I’ve got that FIRSTHAND from a cop (on the stand “to do whatever it takes to get [their] perp”.) This officer was referring to arresting officers.

      But, this cop has no reason to lie. A beat cop that happened on the scene and took a statement. I don’t see why she would fabricate a statement. In addition, she wrote her report and she AND the report disappeared into the paperwork.

      • Craig on 09/13/2009 at 9:44 PM

        And we have a couple sets of hand written notes including Detective Waid’s. Those coming soon.

      • CDinDC on 09/13/2009 at 11:01 PM

        Not mention, at the time of taking the statement, Joe et al. were not suspects.

  14. Clio on 09/13/2009 at 10:02 PM

    Bernie Grimm’s gaffes may be minor, but you would think that, for his fees, he would not keep on making the same Freudian slip. Three strikes and you’re out? No way, his unsympathetic client needs all the firepower that he can muster at this point, and Bernie loves the publicity. It’s another of Joe’s matches made in Hades!

  15. r.j. on 09/14/2009 at 3:25 PM

    small world we live in here. friend tells me he sees kirchner getting some award last friday in lexington. washington & lee athletic hall of fame. i can understand wanting to hand off to the halfback for that. just hope his record as a prosecutor is better than his 25-13 at W&L

    • AnnaZed on 09/14/2009 at 3:39 PM

      Are you saying that Kirshner blew off this hearing to go and receive some trophy for football playing he did years ago at his alma mater? I don’t find that “understandable.” I find that despicable.

    • David on 09/14/2009 at 3:45 PM

      Here is the link to the press release announcing the event at Washington & Lee, and indeed, Glen Kirschner was being honored.

      http://www1.wlu.edu/x32195.xml

      David, co-ed.

      • NYer on 09/14/2009 at 4:12 PM

        Center!

        Thanks for the link.

        • Clio on 09/14/2009 at 4:56 PM

          W&L has a lovely campus, and its law school has supplied Virginia’s elite and that of the nation with fine jurists such as Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and Walter E. “Beef” Hoffman. Gentlemen jocks pursuing the law have been the university’s mainstay before and since the halycon days of Lewis and Beef.

          Having said that, I do not think that I would attend a run-of-the-mill alumni event in Lexington to skip out on such a high-profile case in which the victim was a friend of the sitting Attorney General of the United States. But that’s just me!

          • AnnaZed on 09/14/2009 at 6:25 PM

            I don’t share the general cultural infatuation with all things gridiron, but even if I did I would consider it weekend warrior stuff, entertainment, indulgence ~ that kind of thing.

            So, I’m going to reiterate: failing to appear to do your job and sending a subordinate who was unprepared in your stead so that you can indulge yourself in some nostalgic yucks about (dubious anyway apparently) sporting triumphs of the distant past is despicable.

            • CDinDC on 09/14/2009 at 6:59 PM

              Absolutely, AnnaZ.

              I’m wondering if he told the powers that be what he was doing?

              “uhhh, yeah….I have an important appointment with my cardiologist to , uhhhh, recharge my pacemaker ….yeah…that’s the ticket.”

          • Just Another Friend on 09/15/2009 at 9:39 AM

            Assuming that the government gives him vacation days, he is entitled to use his vacation days in whatever way he wishes.

            • Perplexed on 09/15/2009 at 12:03 PM

              Maybe he should schedule them around court appearances. Kind of like how I schedule them around client closings and filings……

            • Robert on 01/22/2010 at 5:31 PM

              JUSTANOTHERFRIEND I am a retired federal lawyer. There are times when we don’t take vacation days even if we have them coming. It sounds like political “football” to me.

  16. NYer on 09/15/2009 at 10:38 AM

    It’s amazing how much Price seems to have aged, comparing the picture above in this post to his picture on this site where he’s against the brick wall (under the “Defendants” page).

    • Perplexed on 09/15/2009 at 12:04 PM

      His aging is probably more telling that he’s under a lot of stress….doesn’t bother me at all!

      • des on 09/15/2009 at 12:13 PM

        amen sister. i think they’ve all aged for the same reason.

        • NYer on 09/15/2009 at 12:31 PM

          Well, the other two in my opinion look pretty much the same, and Dyl possibly a little better- since all we had prior to the above pic was his mugshot.
          While I don’t doubt this investigation is stressful for the defendants, I have the feeling that JP might not be working, thus relieving some stress. Or I could wrong- perhaps he’s working as a contract atty./doc review in some chop-shop firm?

          • Robert on 01/22/2010 at 5:37 PM

            NYER
            I must admit that I am a little surprised to see how much the defendants have been affected by the aging process.
            I would have thought that drugs for Joe, electrodes for Dylan and milk for Victor would have kept them all looking as young as anyone would after having just murdered a friend, taking a shower and wearing freshly laundered, white underwear. If looks could kill!

  17. perplexed on 10/21/2009 at 3:17 PM

    What is with the f@#hag in the red dress carrying a razor scooter? Ironic symbols while wearing a jacket too short for your dress? What ever happened to class, nice manners, good breeding…

    • Clio on 10/22/2009 at 11:49 AM

      Alas, the age of big hats and white gloves is gone forever: Emily Post, call your office!

    • Robert on 01/22/2010 at 5:38 PM

      PERPLEXED “Class, nice manners, good breeding”? Sounds like the Swann Street singers.

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Purpose of this Site

On August 2nd, 2006, Washington attorney Robert E. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street. Over two years passed before any criminal charges were filed - and then only conspiracy, obstruction of justice and crime scene tampering charges were brought against the Swann Street housemates, all present in the home on the night of the murder: Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky.

On May 17, 2010, a DC Superior Court trial got underway and all three defendants were all acquitted in that bench trial on those pending charges.

Nearly four years later, very little seems clear about what happened that night and who murdered Robert Wone. A cloud of suspicion remains over the Swann Street defendants who have denied any involvement in the murder of their friend or in the alleged cover up.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz found a moral certainty in their collective guilt, but not evidentiary certainty. Civil proceedings in a wrongful death suit filed by Robert's family is the next chapter in this tragic story.

We continue to work together seeking answers to the mystery of Robert Wone's murder and in finding justice for his memory and legacy.

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