Kirschner Pulls A Couple Rabbits Out Of His Hat
With the May trial looming just weeks away, we’re trying to stay current with the latest motions and filings. Not always easy given the challenges posed by DC’s stone age system of court document storage and distribution.
Hitting the clerk’s office last week was the government’s slim (18 page) Response to the Defense Motion to Sever. Also waiting to be pulled is a leviathan 260-page Government Response to the Defense Motions to Suppress.
260 pages of light reading for Wednesday or Thursday? Try Moby Dick.
But first some sleight of hand: a hatful of previously unseen docs magically appear.
These are conjured up in a March 25 letter from Victor Zaborsky counsel Tom Connolly, on behalf of his defense colleagues, to prosecutor AUSA Glenn Kirschner.
He quotes a March 19 letter from Kirschner to the defense team, saying that a raft of previously undisclosed documents have all of a sudden been found. From Kirschner’s letter:
“…in the process of preparing our opposition to your motions to suppress your clients’ statements, we have uncovered additional statements by your clients of which we were not previously aware, and thus not disclosed.”
What are the documents that have Connolly so worked up? Some minor stuff, like videotaped interrogations, handwritten detective notes and the “recollections” of nearly a dozen MPD officers from the night of Robert’s murder.
That’s all. No biggie. Poof…just kinda showed up. Like magic.
From Connolly’s letter to Kirschner, a list of the material he wants:
“A videotaped recording of Mr. Victor Zaborsky, made at approximately 5:30am during his custodial interrogation
Five pages of handwritten notes made by Det. Brown taken during her August 3, 2006 interrogation of Mr. Dylan Ward and Mr. Zaborsky while they were confined at the Violent Crimes Branch.
Three and a half single-spaced pages of “recollections” of eleven different police officers concerning a wide range of statements allegedly made three and a half years ago by the defendants.”
No surprise that Team Swann wants a look at these and a thorough accounting of how they suddenly materialized. Connolly says he hopes to “…avoid the very sort of eleventh-hour production that has just been made.”
Connolly wanted them by yesterday, along with the following:
Regarding the Zaborsky videotape and Detective Brown’s notes: “When, exactly (the date) each was found; Where, exactly each was ‘found…” At the MPD or US Attorney’s Office? And whose office they were found in.
“Identify who found the video and notes, what prompted the discovery and how the discovery was communicated to your office.”
“Identify what – if any – measures are being taken to search all offices at other appropriate location..”
Regarding the statements of the eleven MPD officers: “When, exactly (the date) did each officer recall these statements; What notes, if any, do (they) possess that reflect these new recollections?”
“When the recollections were conveyed to your office, to whom they were conveyed and under what circumstances. eg. did the officers spontaneously contact your office or did someone from your office contact the officer?’
Still nowhere to be found is the mythical list of Swann Street key holders that Price supposedly provided Detective Norris, along with a diagram of the house’s guest room. We remember this from the April status hearing. April 2008.
The questions: Does this happen all the time? Does anything in there raise flags? Are they Brady or Jencks? And what of Connolly’s laundry list: gettable or just memo barking?
We’ve become usual suspects in the underfunded, understaffed clerk’s office, with near daily visits to pull docs and schmooze the staff and court groupies. Tips for anyone making the trip:
Hope it’s not complete chaos when you get there, hope the printers are full of toner and that one of the few medieval workstations is operational. Bring your own copy paper (because that stuff doesn’t just grow on trees).
There’s a 260-page motion up there waiting for us to print. What could possibly go wrong? It works like magic.
-posted by Craig