Government Beats Back Motion to Dismiss
In the latest motion filed in the Wone case, the government responded in opposition to the defense’s joint motion to dismiss counts one (conspiracy to obstruct justice) and two (obstruction of justice) of the indictment with direct and deliberate language that at times lays bare the “…Defendants’ contorted legal analysis.”
The heart of the defendants’ argument to dismiss counts one and two is that obstruction is not actionable – meaning it can’t be prosecuted in court of law – because the alleged acts of obstruction occurred before Mr. Zaborsky’s 9-1-1 call, and since no “official proceeding” was in process at that time, which must be in place first, no obstruction occurred.
One might think that after the 9-1-1 call was placed and MPD arrived, that those events would qualify as actionable obstruction items. But no, not at least according to Team Trouple. The events that happened after the 9-1-1 call aren’t actionable either because the obstruction statute does not criminalize “false statements to the police.”
Moreover, the defense claims that Joe Price’s misrepresentation about who had access to Swann Street to Kathy Wone is not actionable because she has no relation to the government’s investigation into her husband’s murder.
Are the defendants trying have the legal equivalent of flipping a coin and saying, “Heads I win, tails you lose?”
Sure looks that way.
In it’s reply the government demonstrates why alleged acts both before and after the 9-1-1 call are actionable.
In a true “gotcha” moment the government says that the defense leaves the 9-1-1 call itself unchallenged. Since this was the the house-mate’s first communication of the “intruder” theory, this counts as an actionable obstruction of justice, and because only one actionable item is needed then count two automatically survives. Ouch.
The motion also reveals new information about how Joe Price sought to impede the government’s investigation when he did not tell Robert’s widow about who all had access to the 1509 Swann Street; namely his brother, Michael Price.
The defense argues that Price’s misrepresentation to Kathy Wone about this information does not constitute obstruction because she had no “…official role in the investigation.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips, writing for the government, wastes no times spelling out that Mrs. Wone is one of the prosecution”s primary witnesses and sources of information throughout the course of the murder investigation.
Revealed for the first time publicly, the government states that they intend to “…present evidence at trial establishing that Defendant Price was seeking, through intermediaries, information about what Mrs. Wone had told the police when she spoke with them about the murder of her husband.”
With information like this it sure seems like Joe Price spent more time trying to control the government’s investigation into the murder instead of trying to locate the “intruder” in the early days after the murder.
The government is particularly hard on Price, saying that his motive here was to falsely portray to Mrs. Wone that he and his Swann Street house mates were fully cooperating with the police’s investigation and that he sought to undermine Mrs. Wone’s confidence in the Government’s efforts to locate the murderer(s).
–posted by David