"…Win, Lose, or Draw…"

The Defense Pushes Hard and the Court Pushes Back.

The day’s legal action began long before Judge Frederick Weisberg gaveled in the status hearing at 2:01pm.  

A bad hand...The defense this week has filed a range of motions – one to have Judge Weisberg permanently attached to the case (Rule 106), one to exclude the “unsubstantiated charges” – and today, yet another. 

 

First thing this morning, the defense delivered a motion to the Court (and, they say, to the Prosecution) to dismiss counts 1 & 2 – a serious action.

This last minute flurry of paper caused Judge Weisberg some consternation.  They may have been delivered, but he didn’t have the time to read them, neither did prosecutor Glenn Kirchner’s office.  The Government did agree to respond to this latest motion by December 11.

Kirschner’s deputy Patrick Martin, handled most of the chores today.  The Swann Street legal team was missing the services of Robert Spagnoletti, who was in the courtroom, but not actively participating, and Thomas Connolly.

Attorney David Schertler led off, asking Weisberg for a schedule for discovery and other motions.   Not content to let the many pending motions percolate, Schertler asked Weisberg if he was inclined to stay attached to the May trial, in addition to ruling on any of this week’s other motions.

Changes in the DC felony calendars may force Weisberg off the case.  Chief Judge of the DC Superior Court, Lee F. Satterfield will make the call.  The defense admitted they’d like Weisberg to stay on board, but Kirschner hasn’t shared his thoughts yet.

Judge Weisberg: “You all overestimate how much time I can devote to this…  There’s no point discussing this…  I don’t know.  I doubt it.”

This first push and push-back by the Court set the tone for the hearing.  Attorneys Schertler (for Dylan Ward), Bernie Grimm (for Joe Price) and Amy Richardson (for Victor Zaborsky, substituting for Thomas Connolly) came loaded for bear; specifically to squeeze a number of evidentiary items from the Prosecution and set time lines for the following six months.

Throughout, Judge Weisberg expressed muted surprise at the number – and timing – of filings by the defense and their need to set deadlines in stone.  Weisberg was not amenable.

For example, when Bernie Grimm went on – at some length – on how their expert witness “…Dr. Henry Lee of Connecticut…” was costing too much money, hadn’t yet got the evidence he wished, and was now in Turkey.  Another lab may be in order. 

Judge Weisberg seemed a bit dumbfounded.  “So is there anything you want me to do about it?” he asked.  Well yes, responded Grimm,  force Kirschner to turn over all DNA techs bench notes to the defense.  “We’re handcuffed here…without those handwritten notes,” argued Grimm….twice being asked by the Court to slow down for the benefit of the reporter.  Then comes the money quote:

“This case is win, lose or draw, based on evidence…” and not witnesses… my client was an attorney and was fired, he has no livelihood, no income…he’s shelled out tons of money to experts.  We need those notes.”

Grimm tried his hardest, mentioning a Florida case where bench notes were produced as part of discovery.  Florida state courts do not establish precedent in DC Superior Court, where the Feds prosecute.

Weisberg replied, “I’m not sure what there is about this case that requires the wholesale production of bench notes.”   Weisberg said the Government is not required to, has already provided a four inch stack of docs and that the defense had no authority.  So once more: no sale said Weisberg.  If there was specific request by the defense, he may consider.

Schertler again argued that Rule 16 requires disclosure of material that’s of use for the preparation of the defense, and so Team Swann continued to argue that bench notes and other contested items should be turned over post-haste.

Judge Weisberg expressed dismay as to the producibility of…well, just about anything the defense wants.  “So are witness statements (usable for the defense) but they’re not producible.  “That’s different,” responded Schertler.  But apparently not different enough to sway Weisberg. 

The defense’s traveling expert Dr. Lee, it should be noted, is best known for his many TV appearances and books on celebrated cases (O.J. Simpson, Jon Benet Ramsey, Sacco and Vanzetti and Vince Foster).  Perhaps he’s a green room pal of Bernie’s at Fox News.

Next issue: redacted notes.  Weisberg reviewed the redacted and unredacted notes (first noted here) in camera, and decided there were only three lines that should be unredacted – and offered to read them publicly.  Over Schertler’s objection, he read them, picking up with Officer Brian Waid’s notes on speaking with Sgt. B. Roach,  “…wit (Zaborsky) was crying, told SGT “I think they came through door.”

The redactions revealed this: “Went to show but SGT told him not to touch anything and told him to sit down.”   Issue resolved, no wild card.

There was pretty much one last issue to deal with, and it generated the most heat and from the defense attorneys and defendants themselves. What evidence the prosecution intended to introduce in May, basically their case.

Question from Schertler: would the court consider a pre-trial schedule?  Court: good idea, why don’t you work it out with the prosecution.  Question from Grimm: would the court order a response date from the prosecution on our motions?  Court: No, there’s frankly no need. 

Joe Price overheard, again gesturing to Bernie Grimm, “…give us a date!”   Then Schertler, with his voice rising in pitch and tempo: “This is a matter of fairness.  I don’t know why they are delaying in providing this to us.  We should know now.”   Weisberg said the prosecution has a right to take their time to say what evidence they’ll introduce.

David Schertler: “That defies common sense.”  Judge Weisberg: “Not to me.” Push back.

A slightly irked Bernie Grimm trailed off, referring to Kirschner as “…the big top head,…it’s hard when you’re sitting up in an ivory tower.”

Ivory Tower?   We’ve seen our share of federal buildings and doubt the offices of Patrick Martin and Glenn Kirschner rival what’s to be found in Schertler & Onorato, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis or Cozen O’Connor. 

Upset over delays?  We also doubt the pain caused to the defense by the prosecution’s alleged delays rival the long wait for justice that Kathy Wone and Robert’s family have endured over the last three + years.

Grimm, who in the past has had more than one slip of the tongue referring to this case as a homicide matter;  today brought up the m-word, ‘mistrial.”   Was he threatening?  Bluffing?

Echoing Schertler’s exasperation, Grimm said that every time they file a motion, the Government says they haven’t had time to read it.  “It gets old,” Bernie lamented.  Weisberg,  “They didn’t say they didn’t get it.  They said they didn’t see it.”

Next up on the calendar, the defense experts travel to the FBI facility in Quantico, Virginia to examine the evidence on November 20.

Legal Times’ Mike Scarcella files this.  He goes into some detail on the motion to dismiss and who may take over this case from Weisberg. 

Judge Lynn Leibowitz is a former federal prosecutor of 11+ years and was acting chief of the homicide section in the DC US Attorney’s office.  Was this why the defense was so obvious in wanting to keep Weisberg on board?

Liebowitz might be a bad card for the defendants to draw.

The Scene:

Nearly all of the 50 seats in the courtroom were taken.  The Wone family accounted for maybe eight of them, the press had another eight, and the rest seemed to be filled by supporters of the defendants.

All in grey suits, once again Ward was seated in between Price and Zaborsky.  Ward’s expression throughout the proceedings was blank; Zaborsky followed the debate looking concerned, while Price seemed irritated.

The Sights:

The defendants, their attorneys and gaggle of supporters did not leave the Moultrie Courthouse through the main entrance, instead they left from the rear, crossed 5th Street and made their way into an adjacent parking garage.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOwmDM2Fa-E]

-the Editors

67 comments for “"…Win, Lose, or Draw…"

  1. She did it
    11/06/2009 at 8:39 PM

    wonderful reporting.

    sounds like a frustrating day for the trouple and their attorneys. not everything goes your way, attorney price. just because you were once “A Gay” doesn’t mean you get to tell a judge what to do.

    i wonder if dyl gets in a funk when reading others opinions of his looks. i can actually visualize dyl with a blank look on his face (perhaps he was trying to disguise himself as his resume). did she have the razor scooter with her for the ride home on 66-west.

    would love to see judge liebowitz handle this going forward!! here’s hoping.

    • Clio
      11/08/2009 at 3:02 PM

      Why did the trouple use the back entrance to Moultrie for their exit? Are they ashamed of their appearance or of their behavior? Or, both? It does suggest that they and their amen chorus are reading this blog, down to the last quip.

  2. Anonymous Friend
    11/06/2009 at 8:49 PM

    I just read the motion to dismiss. Anyone familiar with the DC law cited? Is obstruction as narrow as it is portrayed? Of course this motion is spun in the defendants’ best light. But I must say I’m a bit concerned – from a legal perspective. Crim experts, please share your insights/expertise. And please distance yourself from the emotional side of this case. I want justice for Robert more than just about anything in life. But we still need to be rational and realistic. Thank you.

    • She did it
      11/06/2009 at 9:32 PM

      no expert on dc law here; but i too read the pleading and was underwhelmed. yes, i have concerns about a quilty verdict; but this motion does not present a concern. what std is applied on a criminal motion to dismiss?

      how much did this motion cost?

      • CDinDC
        11/06/2009 at 9:51 PM

        Remember, it’s a motion prepared by the DEFENSE. It’s going to, of course, have the defense spin on it. If you were able to read something prepared by the prosecution, you’d probably have the complete opposite feeling.

        I’m not worried about a guilty verdict. The prosecution has “the obvious” on their side. Intruders don’t clean their own crime scenes.

    • JusticeForRobert
      11/07/2009 at 2:07 PM

      It would also appear, (after reading this motion), that the stage is being set for an appeal.

  3. Bea
    11/06/2009 at 10:59 PM

    I am loving the fact the defendants may be having a bad evening.

    The ‘money’ quote from Bernie and the fact that poor Joe Price spent all his cash on Dr. Henry Lee who can’t help unless/until he gets the coroner’s bench notes (and per the Judge, won’t) – ah, now this makes for a good Friday evening here at WMRW.

    The only down side is the confirmation that Joe & Co. “got” Dr. Lee. He has the star quality but he’s got a few blemishes on his record too, notably Phil Specter trial and the North Carolina case of Michael Peterson. For those interested in the latter, see the documentary film “Behind the Staircase” and a late episode where Dr. Lee is doing backflips trying to come up with a way to testify that the blood spatter evidence – a complete bloodbath mess – proved that the murder victim fell and hit her head.

    Michael Peterson was convicted.

    • corgivet
      11/08/2009 at 8:53 PM

      I agree with you Bea…Dr Lee has flubbed a few cases…. would love to see prosecution tap Cyril Wecht …any thoughts on his skills?

      • Clio
        11/08/2009 at 9:30 PM

        Like Senator Arlen Specter, Cyril Wecht milked the Kennedy assassination for all the political and professional capital that he could get. Arlen came up with the Warren Commission’s official story that Cyril tried to refute. So, in that sense, Dr. Wecht was an early version of Dr. Henry Lee, a media vampire created from tragedy.

        Wecht, unlike Specter, could NOT win statewide office in Pennsylvania, and he’s probably at that stage in his life in which both celebrity and expertise have passed him by. Besides that, he just beat a rap himself, so he’s probably exhausted.

        But, having said all of that, Glenn and Cathy need all the help that they can get! Hello, Cyril!

  4. Hoya Loya
    11/07/2009 at 1:08 PM

    What can Henry Lee possibly contribute to a conspiracy defense???

    • She did it
      11/07/2009 at 1:17 PM

      a huge invoice

    • Bea
      11/07/2009 at 2:39 PM

      My guess is that he’ll find a way to say anything opposite to the coroner and the government experts’ testimony which has value. That there were no paralytics. That the stabbing was done “post mortem” after Robert died of natural causes (or like bullsh*t)/the meticulous stab wounds really weren’t meticulous and the house set knife WAS the murder weapon and it wasn’t ‘dabbed’ with blood; that the eye/asphyxiation evidence was really evidence of a ‘struggle’ with a stranger; that his wife injected him early that morning – my point is that he’s a prostitute willing to say almost anything. If you watch the behind-the-scenes ‘prep’ in the Peterson case, you’ll see what I mean. In that case the wife was bludgeoned repeated and there was blood up and down the walls, on the stairs, even on the ceiling if I recall correctly, yet he took the stand and gave some scientific babble that she’d had too much wine and fell down the stairs and hit her head in a specific way which caused her to projectile bleed out. Pathetic.

      • Clio
        11/08/2009 at 2:54 PM

        Oh my G–, Henry Lee! Well, it is revealing to know that the OJ gravy train is still going strong. It is too bad for Joe and his parents that all of their money is going to such a hired and tired gun: that is a little bit of justice in itself, however!

        In a cynical twist of political correctness, Joe may have thought to turn to Lee as a Chinese American expert witness to distract from the loss of the prominent victim who happened to be Chinese American. Bernie, dearest, you have got to do better than this rigmarole!

        • Friend of Rob
          11/10/2009 at 5:45 PM

          Robert was Korean.

          • Clio
            11/10/2009 at 7:04 PM

            No, FOR, a little bird told me that Robert was from a long line of Chinese Americans. Wikipedia, not the best source — I know, agrees, as do earlier posters on this site.

            Dr. Henry C. Lee comes from Nationalist China or Taiwan, the venue of Mr. Ward’s publishing house.

            Conflating different ethnic groups from Asia into “Asian” or “Chinese” is particularly irksome, but that mistake is not at issue here.

  5. NYer wants Justice
    11/07/2009 at 2:42 PM

    Great update guys.
    The motion to dismiss does seem a little troubling, but I think these things are normal. I think defense lawyers constantly try to file motions and set up obstacles for the prosecution.

    Wonderful how the big redaction is Victor again talking about the back door and wanting to show the officer. He’s main worry isn’t for Robert, or that there is a murderer on the loose, it’s “please believe me! please believe my story! someone came in the back door!”

    • Clio
      11/10/2009 at 7:14 PM

      Yes, this is further confirmation of the person for whom Vicki was really crying: herself and her forever-lost social position! Women are judged by their men, and the verdict in her case will probably be the same as her men. Pity!

  6. TK
    11/07/2009 at 3:27 PM

    God this all just makes me so angry… poor Robert is dead and all this dithering.

  7. Another Anon Friend
    11/09/2009 at 11:46 AM

    I just wanted to add one comment on the description of the individuals attending Friday’s hearing. The “rest” of the room was not :filled by supporters of the defendants.”

    THERE WERE NUMEROUS SUPPORTERS OF KATHY ATTENDING AGAIN!!!

    The courtroom was certainly full, but if you truly assess who was there, many of the individuals who appear to be “supporting the defendants” are simply paralegals working for the defense team.

    If you actually watch the interactions after the hearing, you are more likely to understand who is really attending. Kathy’s friends and supporters quickly and quietly leave knowing that she knows their continued love and support.

    In contrast, the supporters of the defendants tend to stand around and laugh and chat about where to meet later, blah blah blah blah. For them, this is just another “event” to attend. But really there are only a few remaining close allies of this trio of villains that would show up to be associated with this group. The rest of the “supporters of the defendants” are just there adding billable hours.

    And then there’s the press.

    I’ve read similar statements in past summaries of the hearings about most of the attendees being supporters of the defendants, and I think it’s important for all to know. Kathy has many friends and supporters attending. We have not forgotten Robert and never will!

    • David
      11/09/2009 at 12:39 PM

      Another Anon Friend,

      Thanks for that comment. It is tough to read who is there, especially if they are quiet. The four of the editors where there on Friday, and we certainly saw that there were many supporters of Kathy in the room. It was meant as no disrepect, we were just trying to eyeball the room.

      Agreed about all the paralegals for the defense. They seem to pack them in there. And if you are there next time, please introduce yourself to us. We would love to chat.

      David, co-ed.

      • CDinDC
        11/09/2009 at 1:19 PM

        Perhaps the defense would like to stuff as many “billable” people in that 50 seat courtroom to prevent reporters, etc. from viewing the proceedings. The more reporters (and citizen journalists) in the courtroom the more information is deseminated to the public. Out of sight, out of mind.

      • Craig
        11/09/2009 at 1:49 PM

        AAF – I’ll echo David sentiments. The head count may have been slightly off and I neglected to mention the gaggle of paralegals and associates in tow.

        Nonetheless, the turnout of supporters for the defendants seems higher than we first saw last spring. A ground game?

        Lastly, and this is for Jack Dempsey too who attended – Next time please say hi. We’re easy to find.

        Both of you are welcome to do guest posts on the hearing. We welcome your observations of the afternoon.

    • Anonymous Friend
      11/09/2009 at 2:14 PM

      Thank you.

  8. Clio
    11/09/2009 at 11:26 PM

    Thank you, Craig. When is the next status hearing planned? I’d love to pencil it in on my calendar in order to do a Hedda Hopper-like column about the Moultrie minuets either for my Tidewater bluestockings’ newsletter or this divine weblog.

    If I do go, then I may wear a green carnation corsage, a symbolic reminder to the three traitors of which cause they have betrayed. Green carnations as boutonieres identified elite gay men to each other during the otherwise “mauve” decade of the 1890s. And, if Culuket overreacts to the corsage, then we may know for sure that he and his accomplices peruse these comments. Just a thought.

  9. AnnaZed
    11/10/2009 at 2:08 AM

    I have read all of this tortured pleading and am not impressed in the least by it. I am certain that the government will just brush it aside. What I am struck by is the considerable arrogance of this gesture and the realization that the reason that the trouple has held the line is because they think that they are going to get away with this crime. They really apparently think that they will be able to worm out of suffering any consequences for anything that they have done(!)

    Truly, the mind reels.

    Really, I need a moment here because I have spent many a fruitless hour wondering why they have closed ranks for so long and have ignored the obvious all along ~ they think that they will get away with it!

    I think that they will continue to think that they are going to get off scot-free right up to and until that moment of clarity late in the game (many, many, many billable hours from now) when Bernie takes on board that the jury has been alternately glowering at him and boggling with disbelief at the coal-fired mendacity of his clients for far too long and that all is lost.

    At that point, and only then, someone will try to make a break for it (probably Joe) and rat everyone out, but it will be too late. I fervently hope that when that day comes (and it will come, of that I have no doubt) the government will only agree to deal with these lying bastards if they are handed a pure murder indictment on a plate, nothing less will do.

    • Anonymous
      11/11/2009 at 6:21 PM

      AZ,
      I think it might play out exactly the way you suggest–given that Holder may be keeping an eye on this case–they should consider making their best deal with the government before May.

      In some states great lawyers could re-negotiate this nightmare to misdemeanor murder, although this may not be possible in a federal jurisdiction.

      Otherwise their lawyers, after who knows how many charges, trials, and appeals, will own all their assets, and the felony convicts will all grow old and die broke in a FCI.

      • SheKnowsSomething
        11/11/2009 at 6:59 PM

        Well … the house and certain asset in Florida are probably protected against any civil judgements. I believe I read in some earlier released documents that Victor had established residency in Florida. I’m sure any funds that could be protected there were transfered to accounts in Florida more than two years ago. Any estates folks lurking out there? Editors, any thoughts to developing a post on asset protection as it may apply to these defendants and this case?

        • CDinDC
          11/11/2009 at 7:58 PM

          SKS says: “Editors, any thoughts to developing a post on asset protection as it may apply to these defendants and this case?”

          Good idea, SKS.

          There have been quite a few posts here on WMRW about their Florida property, but I’d love to see a more indepth review like you suggest.

  10. Clio
    11/10/2009 at 8:24 PM

    Why is Glenn seemingly always on vacation with Mr. Martin doing most of the work? Why did the vassal Spag take a back seat to his liege lord Schertler on Friday? One theory: the prosecution is overconfident of success, while the defense is very worried about a loss.

  11. Violet
    11/10/2009 at 8:29 PM

    AnnaZed, I am sad to say I think they may get away with it. Justice is frequently not served in our legal system. Remember OJ? It is hard to believe that a juror wouldn’t convict but wait until the defense starts confusing jurors with technical evidence. I hope you are right, however.

  12. Meto
    11/11/2009 at 8:43 PM

    I am a sporadic, long-time reader, first-time poster on this or any other blog.

    First, substantively, I write in response to the Motions filed by the Defendants for the Bench Notes and to dismiss Counts I and II. I have only dabbled in criminal law, but I did some research. Judge Weisberg appears to be on very solid footing when he said that the Defense is not automatically entitled to the Bench Notes underlying the lab analysis. The D.C. Court of Appeals has held that D.C. Criminal Rule 16, identical to the Federal Rule, only requires that the Prosecution turn over its final reports and analysis absent a real showing that the report is wrong or flawed. Waldron v. United States, 370 A.2d 1372, 1374 (D.C. 1977) (holding that a chemist’s draft notes are not subject to discovery under Rule 16) and U.S. v. Curtis (and Price), 755 A.2d 1011, 1017 (D.C. 2000) (dicta). I see nothing in the existing filings that give rise to an application of the exception. I also think that Judge Weisberg is one of D.C.’s finest Jurists. That is only my opinion.

    As to the assertion that the Obstruction charges must rise or fall solely on post-investigation conduct, I conclude that the Defense Memorandum on its own is self-defeating as to conduct that preceded the arrival of the police. The obligation not to obstruct extends beyond active investigations to investigations that likely will occur. Assuming that anyone by design cleaned Robert’s dead body or otherwise altered or disposed of evidence, that person or persons clearly did so with a view to a “likely” investigation. I think that part of the motion is a non-starter, if not absurd on its face. As to accusations that witnesses, not under oath, may have misled the police, I am less certain.

    As a first time poster (I promise), I note just a couple of relatively unimportant things about me. I am not a supporter of the Defendants although I have known all three in varying degrees. Our family distanced ourselves from Joe and Victor when Dylan appeared on the scene. Nonetheless we received the e-mail requesting financial support for the Defense. We did not respond. I may have met Robert at a function hosted by Joe and Victor, but I do not know for certain. My husband is absolutely convinced that at least one of the three (you can guess whom) murdered Robert and that the others, if not involved in the murder, assisted in covering it up. If I am less convinced, it is because my mind was warped in law school and because I want to believe that one of them (again you can guess whom) could not have participated or covered up something so horrible.

    Respectfully

    • JusticeForRobert
      11/11/2009 at 9:46 PM

      Meto: Good to have you here. Thank you for posting. If you don’t mind my asking, could you sum up your thoughts and opinions on each of the three defendants? More importantly, why did you disassociate yourself from J and V after D came into the picture?

    • Clio
      11/11/2009 at 9:54 PM

      Thanks, Meto, for your insights on the law and your testimonies about the trouple. Like you, I never posted on a blog before this one: this was my “gateway” blog, too.

      I had the following questions, though: What about Dylan made you and your family to distance yourselves from Zaborsky-Price? Why may your husband believe that Mr. Ward is the prime culprit?

    • Anonymous Friend
      11/12/2009 at 1:14 AM

      Please keep posting. I value greatly your personal and legal insights. Thank you.

      How do you and your husband piece the pieces of this puzzle together? What’s your best guess as to what the hell happened that night? And what legal issues most trouble you? Can you speak at all to the accusations that the defendants (or at least some of them) used drugs on a regular basis? If he/they did, which drugs? For how long? How did he/they behave while under the influence? How much, if at all, does this factor into your assessment of this case?

      Sorry to put you on the spot, but I must – there is so very little to grab ahold of in this nightmare, and I’m desperate to make sense of it all (and I fear I never ever will). Again, thank you. I respect (and empathize) that it’s difficult to speak publicly. But the bloggers promise to protect your identity, and I hope that brings some measure of comfort. Thank you for your time and honesty.

      • Meto
        11/12/2009 at 9:18 PM

        The legal issues that most trouble me involve the MPD’s investigation of the blood in terms of how and what they tested and the treatment of the the Blackberry. Obviously the prosecution can recover and D.C. juries may or may not understand Blackberry technology. But how do you effectively destroy the chain of custody on the Blackberry and give the Defendants a free ride on that?

        Respectfully

  13. Meto
    11/11/2009 at 11:55 PM

    JFR and Clio (Our Muse whose Greek name inspired my Roman one tonight):

    I will do my best to respond to your queries about the Defendants although I genuinely wanted and want in the future, if I comment at all, to weigh in more on the legal points. For my part, I find it difficult to separate the legal from the personal under these circumstances. My husband gently chides me for that.

    Before we met, my husband knew, vaguely socially, both Victor and Joe. I knew Victor socially and then met Joe after Victor and Joe started dating. Neither one of us knew Dylan before he moved in with Victor and Joe when they lived on the Hill. Our views of Joe, formed before August 2006, are independent and consistent with views expressed on this blog. Whatever the event, Joe has to be the center of attention and he has a high opinion of himself. Victor was obviously happy to be Joe’s partner.

    I don’t think that my husband and I are prudes by any measure. However, when Dylan moved in with Victor and Joe on the Hill, we both had, independent, strong, negative reactions. It was obviously and painfully clear that Dylan was not renting the basement unit separate from his “rights” to the upstairs space. While Victor may describe the relationship as a family by consent, our clear personal opinion was that Dylan was foisted on Victor by Joe. I cannot say that this was based on anything other than our views of attending social events. Sometimes things don’t need to be said, they are just obvious. This was obvious. We consciously decided that we did not want to be part of that “scene” because we didn’t think Victor and Joe’s “open” relationship was by mutual consent (recognizing on our part that consent has to be knowing and real).

    Subject to the fact that I have no real right to speak for him on this subject, my husband’s views about the principal player on August 2, 2006 are based upon this history and instinct as well as the facts as presented to date by the affidavits. But his instinct has never been wrong in my experience.

    Neither my husband nor I have ever been to the Swann street residence other than to walk by well after the fact. Other than running into one or more of the Defendants on street, I don’t think we had any significant interaction with any of them after February/March 2006.

    Respectfully

    • Clio
      11/12/2009 at 12:49 AM

      Fascinating, Meto. I guess, then, that Joe and Victor were used to the idea of carrying around an “open secret” — long before the murder.

      At any rate, give my love to Caesar. XO, Clio.

    • Craig
      11/12/2009 at 11:35 AM

      Meto – Thanks loads for joining in. We appreciate your legal insights and well as your personal perspective on the threesome.

      Thanks very much. Craig & Co.

    • JusticeForRobert
      11/12/2009 at 11:47 AM

      Thanks Meto. One other question for the moment. You stated: “For my part, I find it difficult to separate the legal from the personal under these circumstances.” May I ask why? I too have found many aspects of this case to be difficult. I would be most appreciative of your sharing your perspective.

    • CDinDC
      11/12/2009 at 12:35 PM

      wow. Thank you Meto for your insight.

      I’ve always believe that Victor was a less than enthusiastic about Joe’s new relationship with Dylan. Victor had become firmly entrenched in a relationship both emotionally and financially, and then Joe declares his desires to have another lover. I’ve never been able to believe that Victor would sanction that entirely. Under duress, perhaps, but not whole-heartedly. Victor may have been trapped by love and golden hand-cuffs, while Joe was enjoying his steel ones.

      It seems to me that Joe ensnared Victor hook, line and bank account, and then pushed him into a situation that would have been legally difficult to extricate himself from.

      So, perhaps Victor acquiesced.

    • Bea
      11/12/2009 at 3:23 PM

      Meto, thank you. I imagine that you feel a bit conflicted since you don’t “know” and only have a sense of things based on the affidavits/evidence and trying to filter that through your own opinions of the three men. While I hate to be so literal, when you say your husband thinks “one” did the murder, is this Dylan or Joe? I suspect I join you (from afar, having never met them) in being appalled that Victor could have participated even in the cover up. Is it your sense that Joe’s begging/bullying could have had such an effect on Victor to draw him into this murderous cover up? Any thoughts as to why or how a decent human being could be so corrupted?

      • CDinDC
        11/12/2009 at 3:54 PM

        Those are great questions, Bea.

        Personally, I believe Joe is more capable of murder than Dylan. Again, harkening back to the discussions we’ve had about narcissism, I don’t see Joe centering himself in the lives of anyone that would have more of a will then he would. “Will” as in ability to get things done. Centering himself in the lives of weak-minded people seems to fit his personality better.

        But, as we all know, the meek and battered often rise up. And sometimes in dreadful ways.

        • Bea
          11/12/2009 at 6:09 PM

          My instincts run with yours on this, CD, but I am curious as to Meto and Meto’s Man think in this regard. I still wonder if perhaps Dylan didn’t make the original “mess” that Joe (being the good toppin’ bottom) had to “fix”. Would still be in keeping with what we here perceive to be Joe’s personality.

          Dylan: Whoops! See what I did? I didn’t mean to! I’m afraid I’ll be put in jail.
          Joe: What’s done is done. Here, I’ll put an end to this (“and then you’ll be mine forever – oh, and I’ll make Victor go along with it because he always lets me have my way”).

          • BenFranklin
            11/12/2009 at 9:26 PM

            Bea,
            Without the drugs and syringes in evidence I don’t think your script will make it to the big screen.

            How about Price and Zaborsky coming downstairs to find the mess made by Ward and an unknown accomplice? The 5th person in the house may be the origin of the intruder myth and provides an exit for the vanished murder weapon.

            Ben

            • CDinDC
              11/12/2009 at 9:37 PM

              I can’t imagine Joe allowing his boytoy to dally without him.

              • BenFranklin
                11/13/2009 at 12:23 AM

                CD,

                Sorry. I know the audience really wants to see Price holding the bloody knife.

                Ben

                • galoon
                  11/13/2009 at 9:21 AM

                  Ben,
                  He may as well be holding that bloody knife.

                • Bea
                  11/13/2009 at 3:39 PM

                  I think you have me wrong, Ben. I don’t want any of them holding the bloody knife – I want them calling 911 and trying to prevent the murder and saving Robert’s life. I can certainly see Dylan (don’t believe Dylan had a little friend over) making the initial “mess” but I do see him running immediately to Daddy Joe for him to ‘fix it’ – and in his depraved mind, this meant to kill Robert. With three deliberate stab wounds – chilling. Victor’s hands are dirty, too, in the cover up at a minimum.

                  Do I think this was premeditated in the sense that they/he planned Robert’s murder before he arrived? No, though some do, and I respect their opinions. Do I think Dylan may have been the first to start down the road of sexual assault? Likely, but think it just as likely that Joe was right there with him. I think Dylan was on a tight leash and that Joe had ‘ownership’ rights in Dylan on many levels. Even if Dylan PLANNED the assault, I think the deliberate stabbing to prevent jail time for Lil Dyl has Joe’s fingerprints all over it (literally and figuratively – uh, despite, um, the the intruder could have been wearing a glove, as Joe offered during initial questioning). Dylan-n-Joe are in this together. Victor is the harried single mother running around trying to protect her misbehavin’ boy. I’ve come to the conclusion that Joe and Dylan are likely beyond normal human conscience, and that Victor’s sold his soul to protect the Big Boy he loves so desperately.

                • CDinDC
                  11/13/2009 at 4:01 PM

                  Ben,

                  I have no personal preference on who was the “murderer.” My opinion on the crime is based solely on what physical evidence there is and a psychological profile cobbled together from information presented by people who knew the defendants personally.

                  My belief that Joe was the murderer (i.e., the person that physically stabbed Robert) stems from my belief that Joe would not “save” Dylan if Dylan were the assailant. Joe is all about Joe. But Victor and Dylan have reason to save Joe. $$$$$$$$$$ Victor is tied to Joe by virtue of financial investments (property). Dylan is tied to Joe by virtue of a meal ticket.

                  Simple as that.

            • AnnaZed
              11/13/2009 at 1:57 AM

              Actually I have come round to thinking roughly a version of this myself. Except I don’t think that there was any accomplice. I think one of the trouple slipped out and disposed of stuff in a dumpster or something. In short, I don’t believe in elves.

              I think that Dylan attacked and murdered Robert, simple as that. I don’t think it was an accident. I think he drugged him and sexually abused him, attempted to smother him and then stabbed him.

              Joe courted disaster by bringing a mentally disturbed person who occupied the position in his life of a prostitute into his home (on an unequal footing ~ as how could he not be?) and attempting to integrate him into his family. Add to this mix a few years of street drug abuse and it was a total prescription for disaster, though, as I have said, suicide would have been the more expected outcome (Dylan’s that is).

              So called doms (or dominatrixes when they are women) are most often essentially the employees of the people who crave save, confined, controlled expression of submission. It is in fact hardly submission at all given the number of strings attached to it and the unequal employee/employer nature of the exchange. Just because Joe’s taste involved physical pain that you or I might consider extreme doesn’t change the dynamic in its essentials. It’s a game, and I think it was a game that Dylan did not really understand, or if he did it really pissed him off.

              I think that underwear guy just can’t break out of the role of micro-manager of everyone’s lives around him. Finding Dylan dragging Robert around and attempting to arrange a tableau with him I believe that Joe just leapt into what he considered to be damage controlling action. This also establishes what a craven and purely vile person Joe is that he thought of his long-time friend Robert at that moment as just an obstacle to his maintaining the life that he considers himself entitled to and nothing more.

              It is one thing to speculate about people moving things, cleaning things, bustling around hiding evidence like in a movie but to contemplate the real actions involved, for these men to have laid their hands on Robert as he was losing his life and do nothing (nothing!) to help him is disgusting and unforgivable.

              Victor gets no pass from me now because I am reminded of his freshly showered person greeting the emergency personnel and it convinces me that he did more than scream and faint. Victor helped clean up, he is an active participant in a conspiracy to conceal the truth about Robert’s death exactly as he is accused of being, and for that alone he needs to go to jail with the other two.

              • SheKnowsSomething
                11/13/2009 at 9:13 AM

                Agreed.

              • BenFranklin
                11/13/2009 at 12:10 PM

                AZ’s “Price as Daddy” scenario works for me, too.

                What are the most obvious three items that Ward-the-junkie- murderer makes disappear ?

                1) Knife
                2) Syringes
                3) Drugs

                One of the three residents could have broken away to dispose of the evidence, but he couldn’t have gone far.

                I still favor Ward possibly with an accomplice–someone with whom he could share the thrill and the drugs–and then dispatch with the evidence into the night. And Wone seems to be in a bigger mess than one small person could make.

                Price and Zaborsky would not protect this 5th person if they knew who it was, but they would clean up after Ward if they thought it was all his mess.

                Agreed. They all participated in the clean up. Excuse me, I need to puke.

                Ben

                • AnnaZed
                  11/13/2009 at 1:01 PM

                  I do ponder the bulkier items: bloody sheets, towels or something. The blood went somewhere. It was not present at Swann St. when the emergency service people arrived, this we know. It’s like the dog that didn’t bark. It’s missing.

                  Did Dyan drag a drugged and helpless Robert to the patio, knife him and hose him off so there so there simply were no bloody linens? I know, disgusting to contemplate, but the whole thing is disgusting.

                  • Bea
                    11/13/2009 at 3:45 PM

                    Agree, AZ. I think much of the blood went down a drain (patio or shower) and that the messy towels, mops, “real” knife, and as many of the drugs in the home that they remembered, went out the door and into a dumpster far away. Which is where I see Sarah, right before she spent the night with Tom and John. Damn, but I’d love it if there was some security camera (Sarah using an ATM to get cash, stopping at a market for some Ajax) footage to allow the prosecution to lean on Tom & John. Surely among Sarah (or Michael, or hired trick), Tom, John, or, yes, Victor, that ONE has some shred of decency requiring them to tell the truth. Or at least in Tom & John’s case – what THEY DO KNOW – such as “Sarah arrived, unexpectedly, a little after 11:49”.

    • Nelly
      11/13/2009 at 6:04 PM

      Meto, thanks for letting us know your thoughts on the case. Please continue to share your insights.

  14. Meto
    11/12/2009 at 8:56 PM

    I am trying to respond to multiple inquiries in this string, but I suspect I will disappoint more than provide much more information. Far from being in the inner circle of friends of the Defendants we have not after early 2005 been even in the outer circle. So in response to questions from Anonymous Friend, we have no knowledge about any drug use by anyone in this case. We don’t know how to sort out the facts as presented to date. We don’t live near the Defendants. And we cannot reconcile those facts with the people that we knew. If we thought we had solved the crime, we would most certainly have provided information to the police. But when I read Agatha Christie growing up, I never figured out who the real murderer was (usually my suspect would be the next one killed), so I don’t know why I could do better in this real life crime drama that Ms Christie could not have written. This is too bizarre and defies my perception of the Defendants.

    An early poster (January?) mentioned not looking into the abyss too long lest you get drawn in to the abyss itself. I agree. JFR – My discomforts and disconnects are two-fold. First, even though we drew away from the Defendants before the murder, it is more than unsettling to have been friends with those who stand so accused. Second, and my husband is truly frustrated with me because he accuses me of never turning off the lawyer thinking, I apply a “beyond reasonable doubt” standard generally and in this case in particular in a way that most on this blog would find extreme. But I recognize the value of this blog and choose to contribute what I can – I have discussed with Craig by e-mail some other legal issues. And indeed at some point perhaps the light bulb will go on and contrary to Christie fiction, the case will resolve itself for me. If so, I will do what is appropriate.

    I readily admit my own biases. I am (or was) closest to Victor and thus have the greatest trouble analyzing or accepting his involvement. While my husband and I clearly decided to have a closed relationship we don’t object in the slightest to those who voluntarily agree to have an open relationship. I don’t know, but I don’t believe that Victor voluntarily agreed to this deal. The Victor I know dreamed and wanted the kind of relationship that I am lucky enough to have. I really hesitate to speak for “Meto’s Man”. I don’t think either of us can accept the “coincidence” of Dylan’s missing knife allegedly being consistent with the wounds. In answer to Bea, I think it is, that puts Dylan ahead of Joe at least as to the possibility of who may have committed the murder. As residents of a D.C. townhouse, the intruder theory is incongruous (to be polite).

    Clio – the reports and rumors of my affairs with Caesar are greatly exaggerated (especially by my adopted father). Nonetheless I will send Caesar your love!

    Respectfully

    • JusticeForRobert
      11/12/2009 at 9:29 PM

      Thanks again, Meto. I understand exactly where you are coming from and I don’t find it extreme at all. In fact, innocent until PROVEN guilty is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of our judicial system. I don’t blame you for applying BRD standard to this or any other case. I do find your observation that Victor was not completely on board with this trio relationship very interesting as I have wondered that myself many times. He as much as confirmed it in his statement. I also have to wonder since “cleaning up messes” seemed to be Joe’s forte, if perhaps Victor was not often cleaning up Joe’s messes? Perhaps the mess that Victor finds himself in now is one that he will have to clean up for himself.

  15. TT
    11/13/2009 at 6:07 PM

    Thank you Meto. I am not clear on how you can justify Victor’s out of context statements. You state; “The Victor I know dreamed and wanted the kind of relationship that I am lucky enough to have. ” Shame based; and, if Victor, was truly innocent, why is he still hanging with the likes of Joe and Dylan. This case has intrigued and disgusted my sense of “being”. How can someone’s sense of being; be disgraced, tortured, and humilated….Forgive me, but where does the compassion begin and continue on the wesite, from supporters, like you? It will not be from me………

    • Bea
      11/13/2009 at 6:40 PM

      TT, you lost me – who upsets you and why?

      • TT
        11/13/2009 at 7:02 PM

        Thank you Bee, you have a keen sense of
        “knowing”. I also respect everything you have posted/commented on this website.

        Meto has upset me and his tale of
        “Christie fiction”. And all my other stuff that continues, truly this case is outrageous!

        • TT
          11/13/2009 at 7:04 PM

          Bea, sorry

          • TT
            11/13/2009 at 7:08 PM

            Thank you but there is no sorry needed…
            perhaps we could chat online, another place, another time, to discuss…

            • Bea
              11/13/2009 at 8:42 PM

              TT, as an aside, do you know any of the players in this? Seems you’re reading things into Meto’s comments that I’m not seeing.

              • Meto
                11/13/2009 at 9:18 PM

                I am afraid my post (actually found in the strand below this) has been slightly misunderstood. I am not a supporter of any Defendant; we are even more distant now than when we distanced ourselves in 2005. I was instead responding to another post asking me specifically a question about the murder itself. I do not excuse any cover-up. Far from it. Nor am I defending anyone TT. I am merely acknowledging my bias (I even used that term) based upon the Victor I knew (note the past tense of the term here and in my post below).

                My Agatha Christie comment had two purposes: (1) truth is stranger than fiction because I do not believe that Christie could have written this story as fiction and gotten away with it — that is not intended to make light of this real life tragedy just the opposite (the written word on a blog is imperfect); (2) I was, in response to a question asking me to provide my analysis or theories, pointing out that I am apparently not up to the task based upon my history. Nothing else was intended other than some deliberate self-deprecation.

                Respectfully

                • Bea
                  11/14/2009 at 12:57 AM

                  I read it the way you intended, Meto. Thanks for giving us your sense of things. I think most of us wish we had more first-hand accounts of the three defendants in part because it is so hard to fathom such behavior – and the fact that they have ‘supporters’ boggles the mind. I wish I could sit any of them down, affidavit in hand, and ask questions . . .

                • JusticeForRobert
                  11/14/2009 at 2:14 AM

                  Meto: No worries at all. Your contributions, both legal and personal are very much appreciated. I have known people in the past, even been close to them, that ended up involved in some pretty dramatic/traumatic situations. I found your depiction of your feelings to be very honest and in no way supportive of any wrong doing. Your perspective is going to be different from anyone else who has never met or known any of the defendants, that is to be expected. It is one thing to surmise based on what is in black and white and it is another to have actually known someone and interacted with them personally. I spent a year working in a private men’s sauna, a nice way of saying “bathhouse” and I must admit, I have met many men that would fit the Joe, Victor and Dylan depiction. When any form of drug is involved, it is a one way ticket down a very dark road.

                • CDinDC
                  11/14/2009 at 1:50 PM

                  Meto,

                  Bea and JFR just said it all. I’d just like to add my thanks for your thoughtful and informative posts. I hope to see more of your take on things.

                  CD

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