Compelling Arguments

Spagnoletti Responds to Razi on 5th Amendment

Two weeks ago, the Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Compel Deposition Testimony

Covington was not getting the answers they wanted from defendants Price, Ward and Zaborsky.  In fact, they weren’t getting any answers they argue, to even the most seemingly innocuous depo questions.

Ben Razi argued that the defendants were unnecessarily hiding behind 5th Amendment claims, and that, according to their filing, “At this late stage, Defendants face no reasonable prospect of criminal prosecution.” 

Not so says Schertler-Onorato’s Robert Spagnoletti, in which he reprises his role managing the constitutional issues, much like he did during the criminal proceedings.

In a 105 page Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants’ Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel, he states very bluntly that the possibility of his clients being charged with criminal counts related to Robert Wone’s murder, “…is an ever-present and real threat.”  

He goes on to illustrate why he feels the Plaintiff, “…fails to appreciate how deposition testimony could be used against the Defendants in a subsequent case.”   Further criminal charges may  include “homicide.”

And buried deep inside the text are a few headlines:  The Government was trying to cut a deal with one of the defendants “..in the days following the conclusion of the criminal trial,” hoping that he’d flip on his (former?) housemates/roommates/lovers/whatevers.

The bulk of the Ps and As runs 20 pages.  Attached are some familiar documents: The Grand Jury indictment, AUSA Glenn Rachel Carlson Lieber’s June 16, 2010 Opposition to Defense Motion for Judgment of Acquittal, criminal trial transcripts of the mind-numbing arguments on submitting the defendants’ videotaped statements for or not for truth, and a portion of Kathy Wone’s testimony from Day 1 of the summer trial.

Plainly stated, Spagnoletti’s opposition centers on what he considers and overreach by Razi – that the threat of additional charges still hang over his clients’ heads. “…prosecutors continue to accuse the defendants of being responsible for his death.”

“The Plaintiff would have this Court eviscerate the Defendants’ Constitutional rights by compelling them to answer deposition questions which may provide links in the chain of evidence against them…. It is the possibility, not the probability, of criminal charges that determine whether a 5th Amendment right exists.   Here, further charges are certainly possible.”

Spagnoletti goes on to state:

“Under the Government’s theory of the case, there are a number of charges that could still be brought against the Defendants in a future prosecution, the most obvious of which are murder and conspiracy to commit murder.”

He goes further in describing the sword hanging over his clients’ heads:

“The Government continues to interrogate potential witnesses who might have information about the Defendants (on the night of the murder)… 

Even more recently, the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department stated on a public radio program that the Wone homicide continues to be an ongoing investigations and “if we get to the point where we can bring charges, I’m sure we will.”

One portion of the motion that we’ll have to do more research on regards questions posed to the defendants about their activities on the night of Robert’s murder.  There are bulleted in the doc:

-Link them to 1509 Swann Street
-Link them to each other
-Link them to Robert Wone
-Link them to implements that might have been used in the crime; or
-Place them in the house, with Wone or with each other on August 2, 2006.

We’ve seen a number of the criminal case stipulations (which we’ll publish soon – promise) and if we’re not mistaken, much of the above was agreed upon.  What role those documents may have in the civil case is a topic for another time.

Next up – The Plaintiff’s reply to this opposition.  We should see that filing in the next week or so. 

It’s entirely possible that Judge Michael Rankin will want to hear argument and see this issue slugged out in a status hearing.  But perhaps with the Spag’s forceful arguments and numerous precedents he laid out, Rankin may have all he needs to rule in these 105 pages.

Defendants’ Oppotion Motion

Points and Authorities in Support of Defendants’ Opposition Motion

58 comments for “Compelling Arguments

  1. Bill 2
    02/16/2011 at 11:27 AM

    “The Government continues to interrogate potential witnesses who might have information about the Defendants (on the night of the murder)…”

    This sounds like good news. Who might they be questioning – Sarah Morgan? Sarah Morgan’s two friends? Scott Hixson?

    • Clio
      02/16/2011 at 9:58 PM

      Don’t forget “Mona” Lisa G.!

  2. Carolina
    02/16/2011 at 1:20 PM

    In other words, we dodged a well-aimed bullet the first time, we’re pretty sure anything we say will help you reload.

    I know it isn’t (necessarily) true, but it’s hard not to read that as guilt.

  3. David
    02/16/2011 at 1:28 PM

    The way I read this, even though it doesn’t say it exactly, is that they want to take the fifth in all questions relating to the case, Robert and their relationships without any adverse inferences taken. Simply put — they want their cake and eat it too. I think Rankin will rule, fine they can take the fifth but adverse inferences must be applied since it is a civil trial.

    David

    • AnnaZed
      02/16/2011 at 2:20 PM

      My thoughts entirely: have cake + eat cake = yummy and secure.
      I doubt that Judge Rankin will be impressed by this.

    • Kate
      02/16/2011 at 2:34 PM

      I’m in complete agreement with you, David. As I was reading this document, I found the defense arguments compelling until pg. 21-22, regarding adverse inferences drawn from pleading the 5th. It is at that point that the defense appears to be running rings around themselves with logic.

      As the defense stated, the primary evidence used against the three in the criminal trial came from their statements on the morning of August 3, 2006. To answer the same or similar questions in civil depositions and/or trial could possibly cause self-incrimination, therefore pleading the 5th is proper and just. In addition, no adverse inferences can be drawn from pleading the 5th UNLESS there is sufficient independent probative evidence available for each question asked.

      But there appears to be plenty of independent probative evidence for most questions regarding such discoveries as links to 1509 Swann, links to Robert Wone, etc. Such evidence exists in the very statements made in the early morning hours immediately after Robert’s death, by each of the individuals about the other two.

      For example, a question for Joseph Price: Were you present at 1509 Swann Street on the night of August 2, 2006?

      Joe Price: I plead the Fifth Amendment, etc., etc.

      Is there sufficient independent probative evidence for the jury to draw a negative inference from his response? I believe so – the individual statements made by Victor and Dylan in their Anacostia Dialogues that Joe was present at 1509 Swann Street on August 2, 2006.

      While each defendant may choose to plead the 5th for each question for reasons of self-incrimination, sufficient probative evidence is available in the statements made by the other two.

      I apologize if this isn’t clearly stated – I plead legal ignorance. But hopefully, the simple logic is sound.

      Regards and I appreciate any comments or corrections regarding my train of thought,
      Kate

      • Bill Orange
        02/16/2011 at 5:55 PM

        “In addition, no adverse inferences can be drawn from pleading the 5th UNLESS there is sufficient independent probative evidence available for each question asked.”

        I’m not a lawyer, but I’m guessing that a dead body meets the definition of “sufficient independent probative evidence”, and the questions all relate to how this particular dead body ended up in the defendants’ guest bedroom.

        I tend to agree with everyone above who said that it’s perfectly reasonable for the defendants to invoke their fifth amendment rights here. They can do so for any question that might lead to their conviction for homicide, and that’s going to apply to almost any question that the plaintiffs ask. But by the same token, there is clear independent evidence that someone was stabbed to death in their guest bedroom. If they don’t want to answer questions about this, then the civil jurors can–and should–draw an adverse inference from this.

        This isn’t rocket science.

        And I realize that I’m in the minority here, but I think that further criminal charges are fairly likely in this case. As bad as the defendants looked after the criminal trial, it’s nothing compared to how bad they’re going to look at the end of the civil trial. They’re refusing to answer questions about “violent sexual activity”, and–pardon the pun–there’s a trunkful of “independent probative evidence” about this. The Marquis de Sade is going to look like a prude when the plaintiffs present their case, the AG is still going to be watching from the sidelines, the defendants are going to be a lot poorer, and to top it all off, the minute the insurance company cuts a check, they’re going to be at risk for getting hit with insurance fraud charges. I predict another round of criminal charges prior to the end of 2012.

        • AnnaZed
          02/16/2011 at 6:40 PM

          “…independent probative evidence…”

          …titter…ha!

          • Kate
            02/16/2011 at 10:25 PM

            …titter…indeed! Hadn’t thought of that. Funny how such legal terms can sound when removed from context.

            And I’m with you, Bill O. I think there will be further criminal charges, even if the civil trial requires a line by line, question by question ruling by the Judge to get to some new and juicy bits.

        • Bill 2
          02/16/2011 at 6:51 PM

          I agree, Bill O, that there will be further criminal charges in this case. Now that we hear from the defense that potential witnesses against the trio are still being interrogated by the government, it’s a sign that the case isn’t on the back burner as some have suggested.

        • Clio
          02/16/2011 at 10:06 PM

          Even still, the Marquis was jailed in the Bastille for doing far less. And, will Spag be able to say “probative” with his “straight-acting” face? Stay tuned for the details at 11!

    • kiprian
      02/17/2011 at 10:10 PM

      An idea has been fermenting in my brain for a while, and it’s finally gotten to a high enough proof to decant before the experts who can pronounce on its worth.

      Could the defense strategy be to present a highly detailed scenario of a non-ninja intruder? They know the evidence as well (if not better) than the prosecution, and should thus be able to propose a fanciful but not entirely implausible scenario that does not contradict any of the existing evidence. In that case, it would be best to keep such a strategy occult as long as possible so the prosecution has the shortest period of time to find the evidence/develop the argument that shows the scenario to be utter bilge.
      I believe that the rule in trials is to never ask a question to which you do not know the answer. The 5th amendment ruse is an attempt to make sure that the prosecution does not get a chance to expand the list of questions to which there are known answers. It also helps to make sure that the prosecution doesn’t get wind of which fanciful scenario will be proposed until they already started the trial.

      Is it legally possible to pursue this strategy? I don’t know. Would such a strategy work in a courtroom? Yes, if you have a sufficiently strong alternative scenario and a sufficiently malleable jury.

      • Bill Orange
        02/18/2011 at 8:46 AM

        The lawyers need to weigh in on this. I think it’s within the realm of possibility, but I don’t think it’s going to fly. The whole point of the deposition process is for both sides to be able to gather the information they’re going to need at trial. You can invoke your fifth amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination, but not to simply to obstruct your opponents efforts to gather information. In your scenario, the defendants would have some knowledge of who the “real killer” is. I can’t see how they could avoid disclosing this information to the plaintiff prior to trial. They’ve been found not guilty of obstruction and evidence tampering already, so a fifth amendment invocation will be weak. I would guess that a judge would be highly unamused by a stunt like this at trial. And I can’t see a jury swallowing it if the defendants say something to the effect of, “Michael did it, but we’re invoking our fifth amendment rights on the next 500 questions.”

  4. boofoc
    02/16/2011 at 2:20 PM

    As to Spag’s opinion concerning the possibility of his clients being charged with criminal counts related to Robert Wone’s death being an ever-present and real threat, I’d say, “no s#%t, Sherlock.” And as to Ben Razi’s opinion that “at this late stage defendants face no reasonable prospect of criminal prosecution”, I’d say, “bullpucky.”

    Neither view should be determinative of what answers to depo questions and/or interrogatories are to be forced and what 5th Ammendment claims are allowed. Each question wil need to be evaluated on its on as to whether it’s answer will in fact “tend to incriminate.” The questions not answered will be evaluated by each juror, and the fact that is being kept secret by the deponent in the non-answer will have to be assumed, either in the deponent’s favor or not, as the judge will instruct. The judge here has faced this problem many times and will have no problem; it’s not a new issue.

    Ben Razi’s words, spoken in the hallway months ago – whether repeated or not – will tend to guide jurors when evaluating the evidence based on refusals to answer “on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me.”

  5. AnnaZed
    02/16/2011 at 2:23 PM

    “…Each question will need to be evaluated on its on as to whether it’s answer will in fact “tend to incriminate.”

    Well exactly, doesn’t the judge and then won’t by extension the jury take exception to the idea of preemptively refusing to answer questions before one even knows what the questions are?

  6. boofoc
    02/16/2011 at 2:26 PM

    Each question will need to be evaluated on its own as t whether its answer….

  7. boofoc
    02/16/2011 at 2:30 PM

    Indeed, and the judge will be asked to referee, if the parties can’t agree. This is during pretrial, well before the jury is involved.

  8. CDinDC
    02/16/2011 at 2:42 PM

    Could Razi’s comment (“Defendants face no reasonable prospect of criminal prosecution”) have been a strategic move on his part? Possibily trying to get the trio to let down their guard? If heard it happening in other cases where the defendant believes they are immune to prosecution for various reasons and blab important details that land them back in court.

  9. Bea
    02/16/2011 at 3:03 PM

    Love that Defense had to raise the “what about murder?” banner. I agree with others here that the Judge is likely going to allow the 5th only on certain questions, not the mundane (at home that night) or the ones which shouldn’t be in issue (recapping/validating own testimony at Anacostia). Thought: if Plaintiff doesn’t use the interrogation tapes but just sets up

    1. Robert alone with Defendants in Defendants’ house; 2. Two of defendants had been trolling for third in sex play which includes torture; 3. Have one or more tricks testify about this aspect of D&J’s life, especially if one felt uncomfortable (pure speculation on my part);

    4. No intruder came into the home; 5. Robert was shot up with something and likely would have bled everywhere (bringing up how 3 all said he took a shower but apparently didn’t – covers up evidence that would have been found in bathroom but for MPD’s major snafu); 6. Robert died of three stab wounds (and Joe sounded them out for Kathy later, not for cops, told two stories about placement of knife); 7. point out all the (many) holes/inconsistencies in the story.

    BUT NEVER put on the tapes so there is no logical defense explanation coming from the defendants mouths – forcing them to actually speak???

    • AnnaZed
      02/16/2011 at 3:08 PM

      Ohawww Bea, I do like that strategy. That could work like a charm.

    • Craig
      02/16/2011 at 3:58 PM

      Bea: If I follow this – Do you mean weave a narrative of accusations but don’t use any part of the Anacostia Dialogues’ statements as actual evidence? Apologies if I’m slow today; the 5th Amendment makes my head hurt, not to mention that recurring summertime nightmare of truth/not for truth.

      And speaking of – how does that truth/not for truth legal thingie play out in civil trials, if at all? The same way as in criminals or is it a 6th amendment / due process thingie and not applicable this time around? Head hurts moar!

      • Bea
        02/16/2011 at 4:53 PM

        Yes, leave out the tapes. Plaintiff here doesn’t need to be as specific as to elements of crimes and intent – a tougher row than in civil arena. She will have to establish one of her counts, with negligence as the back up.

        So she puts on the 911 operator, the EMTs, the COPS who can testify WHY they did what they did in terms of investigation, Jason T regarding Joe’s behavior/weird requests in days after, Kathy about Joe’s 3 grunts, Tara about “covered in Robert’s blood!” and “pulling knife”; Scott H. to back up that Joe claimed to pull out knife; the Thomases about time line; med experts about the needle marks; sexperts about the treasure trove; Alt.com about Joe’s ad and any activity on that account (if they’ve gotten that); Arent Fox partners about Joe’s work computer (that’s a gray area one) but certainly about any untoward emails between Joe and Dylan and “thirds” and behaving badly when Victor was out of town; airline to say Victor switched ticket; gym records to show Victor trying to track Joe down that day; 911 to establish Victor said right away that “THEY” had one of our knives and that Joe had two towels on Robert though cop will say only one found; cop on no one showered though men insisted he did, etc.

        The cops can testify about what they heard from defendants which prompted them to take certain action. Med experts can testify about all the tech stuff (as they would anyway – and Kathy needs better experts this time around).

        Now, would the defense ask to put in the tapes? Evidence experts on the board, please weigh in. Certainly the defense counsel can ask what the defendants said in response to particular questions but they can quickly say they didn’t believe it and why.

        I’m sure Covington is/has thought this through and is doing a far better assessment of it than I can. You would lose some of the little stuff, lose Joe’s arrogance, BUT no sympathy for Victor or thinking Dylan to be sweet and innocent. Without the tapes, how do the defendants get “their story” in???

      • KiKi
        02/18/2011 at 9:19 AM

        The truth/not for truth – while related to the 6th amendment – really is based in the Rules of Evidence. Here is the difference (this may repeat some of the discussion we have had about this issue before): Hearsay is any statement offered against a party that is offered for the truth of the matter presented. So the test is not “what is the statement?” the test is “why are you entering the statement?” For example Craig said “the 5th amendment makes my head hurt.” If I want to enter this statement in order to show that Craig’s head actually hurts then it is hearsay, offered for the truth of the matter. If I am offering this statement as the reason for which Bea responded to Craig, it is not for the truth of the matter. However, there is an exception to the Hearsay rule for party opponents. So if Bea is suing Craig, she can offer his statement that he has a headache against him to prove that he actually had a headache.

        As to the 6th Amendment, the confrontation clause is often referred to as a Crawford argument (after the seminal SCOTUS case that interpreted the clause.) Under Crawford you have the right to confront any witness against you. So no statement can be offered against you without the witness who spoke the statement being called, even if the statement is not offered for the truth of the matter.

        Ok so here is the tricky part, How do Crawford and the Hearsay rules work together?: Let’s use the example above but now say Bea sues Craig and I. She can use Craig’s statement against him as the party opponent. Under the hearsay rules she could use Craig’s statement against me to show that I knew Craig had said he had a headache (state of mind exception). However, my argument would be that under Crawford, Bea could not use Craig’s statement against me unless I had the chance to cross examine Craig.

        And now we get into the interplay with the 5th. Craig takes the stand and refuses to answer the questions under the 5th amendment. I now have no ability to cross examine Craig, so it is likely that the judge would rule (or should rule) that while Craig’s statement under the hearsay rules could be offered to show my state of mind. The statement is still inadmissible because it would violate my 6th amendment rights.

        I think this is a very likely scenario when it comes to the videos and the statements of each defendant offered against the other defendants.

        • Kate
          02/18/2011 at 9:46 AM

          Thank you Kiki for that excellent summation. I’m with Craig regarding the truth/not for truth business, but your explanation once again helps to clarify.

          One question: Do you believe the video statements will be ruled inadmissible in the civil trail? I wrote a post further up the line regarding this matter and independent probative evidence.

          Oh, one more question: With hearsay rules, Crawford and 5th and 6th amendment rights coming into play, why were the Anacostia Dialogues admissible in the criminal trail?

          I greatly appreciate your insights,
          Kate

          • KiKi
            02/18/2011 at 11:31 AM

            So as to your second question. it is my understanding that the interrogations were ruled admissible as to each defendant’s own statement admissible against him and him alone. So what JP said in his interrogation was admissible against JP. As that is an exception to the hearsay rule and does not violate Crawford. But JPs statements were held inadmissible against the other two because of Crawford/hearsay.

            As to your first question. I think that the tapes can be used in a motions hearing to prove independent probative evidence. I do not think that they will be able to be put in front of the jury in order to prove that someone was home because the other two said they were home. Because I think this is 1. for the truth and 2. violative of Crawford.

            • Kate
              02/18/2011 at 1:55 PM

              Bless you, Kiki – I begin to understand. These concepts can be quite confusing for the non-legal folks here.

              Regards,
              Kate

              • CDinDC
                02/18/2011 at 2:02 PM

                Absolutely. As mainly a reader these days, I enjoy Kiki’s input.

        • AnnaZed
          02/19/2011 at 9:57 PM

          Kiki, thank you so very much for that. I think that I am beginning to actually understand it.

          We are privileged that you have taken the time to elucidate this complex matter for us.

    • gina a
      02/16/2011 at 4:22 PM

      Wow-that is an amazing theory

    • Kate
      02/16/2011 at 4:36 PM

      Now THAT’S a nifty strategy. I like it.

  10. susan
    02/16/2011 at 9:27 PM

    Seems odd of the defendants to pull out the 5th and being “compelled” to be witnesses against themselves for such basic questions as “where were you at the time of the murder?”

    According to Spagnoletti’s argument, “The foundation of the government’s case was statements made by the defendants” and “The importance of the defendants’ own words to the government’s case cannot be underestimated.” Is he arguing for the plaintiff there or the defense?

    That section goes on to state “The government used these statements…to place them inside of the Swann Street residence” the night of the murder. Well, yes. But the police found them there in their robes in two cases (with DW naked under one robe, thanks to defendant Joseph Price’s statement), and underwear in another. As well, the recorded 911 call places them inside the residence too. Is that statement and argument really worthy inclusion in this memorandum? That defendants testimony “place[s] them inside the Swann Street residence” the night of Robert Wone’s murder? And after all, Robert’s email to J. Price arranging the stayover, etc. places J. Price there, etc., etc. And on and on.

    • Clio
      02/16/2011 at 10:14 PM

      Susan, even Ma’am was just in her underwear before going to bed. A slip perhaps, but no corset in that case?

      • Kate
        02/16/2011 at 10:31 PM

        I’m guessing sans corset on a hot August night after retiring.

        I wonder what Ma’am wore on the day the Prosecution tried to turn him? (Assuming it was him.)

        • Clio
          02/16/2011 at 10:46 PM

          Dear Kate, he turned (over) the day that he met Mr. Price in 2000, and there will be no turning back. Nevertheless, in a terrible twisting of what Harold said to Michael in the iconic film Boys in the Band, he probably told Joe: “I’m turning on” (to bourgeois respectability,) “but you’re just turning” (your back on everything good and decent.)

          • susan
            02/16/2011 at 11:13 PM

            Just looked up that film, Clio. Thanks for introducing some of us to it here.

            I was re-reading the Sparkly Cat letters page. VZ sounds desperate, and a bit hysterical? (threatening?) in his subtle but pointed expressions about keeping JP in his life and the deliberate exclusion of DW in his description of the ties that bond or the bonds that tie.

            Ultimately, it appears that a man who will accept that his husband has taken on the boarder as a mistress and new family member will accept almost anything. He’ll accept the idea that his spouse’s mistress is “the sweetest, kindest…” all the while that his partner describes the same culinary children’s author masseuse fundraiser as inspiring “fear, badassedness” etc. and as “the love of” his life.

            • Clio
              02/17/2011 at 8:01 AM

              Yet, Susan, Victor is still Mrs. Joseph R. Price, and Lil Dyl is still (officially) single and underemployed. Do “nice” girls/guys with no set career finish last all the time? Can “single” girls/guys over 40 who are underemployed ever hope to be married? Maybe, or maybe not.

            • Bill Orange
              02/17/2011 at 8:07 AM

              I have a very different view on Victor that most people here. I think that Victor’s sex drive declined over time, and I think that he didn’t have much/any interest in the BDSM scene to begin with. I think that, as a result, he and Joe agreed to an open relationship so that Joe’s sexual needs could be met.

              This may have been a bluff–Victor strikes me as an extremely passive-aggressive type–but Joe obviously called him on it. I really have no sympathy for him in all of this. He obviously knew what was going on between Joe and Dylan, even if he didn’t know all of the details. I don’t think he expected a house guest to get stabbed to death, but he nevertheless knew fully well that he was putting himself in an extremely bad situation.

              • Clio
                02/17/2011 at 8:47 AM

                Victor outsourced his marital duties to Dyl, who ultimately failed to satisfy the insatiable Culuket. Mr. Hixson was to be the next vendor under contract to service Mr. Price, but then the unpleasantness of August 2 intervened. The Ninja must have known this, being a scholar of urban gay male sociology!

              • susan
                02/17/2011 at 9:27 PM

                Hey BillO,

                What I deduce from reading those cards, VZ saying he was “too old” for some activities, and his activities as he stated them the night of Robert Wone’s murder in VZ’s house is that Victor Z. was a one-man sort of fellow and desperately feared losing JP just as JP feared losing LD.

                Clio, that’s sad, funny and true re plants in prison. Well, maybe there are plants. Just not the kind you water.

          • Kate
            02/17/2011 at 7:54 AM

            Alas, Clio and Susan, today Victor still stands by his man and remains mute.

            We can only hope for the day when Ma’am’s “borgeois” sensibilities are offended by being thrown in the slammer for murder. Perhaps then he will finally remove his decidedly unattractive rose-tinted glasses – as well as the coordinating blinders – and sing a new song.

            Perhaps. He does have his children to consider.

            • Clio
              02/17/2011 at 8:15 AM

              Yes, Kate, and, most disturbingly, there are far fewer plants to water in the pokey. One might, though, have the time to view endless hours of a Project Runway marathon without bickering about the cable.

              What was in the deal? Was Ma’am offered a new man in exchange for a new life? Or, did he turn it down because all the Government offered were free Maria Callas posters and trips to Italy? Been there, done that!

              • Kate
                02/17/2011 at 8:57 AM

                Hmm, I wonder what sort of inspiration the inmates of the DC lock-up can draw from Project Runway re-runs? Perhaps they’ve all pulled their cigarette money and invested in a “Bedazzler” with which to adorn those unflattering orange jumpsuits? Very Sparkly.

                Whatever deal Ma’am was offered, it wasn’t enough. Maria Callas be damned.

                He may be waiting for the “Get Out of Jail Free” card to be proferred?

                • Cara
                  02/17/2011 at 8:29 PM

                  Given what the authorities thought they knew at the time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dylan were the one being offered the deal.

                  • Kate
                    02/18/2011 at 9:24 AM

                    Yes, I agree, Cara – it could have been Dylan offered the deal. It would be great to know which it was. Perhaps that will come out in the civil trail.

              • Clio
                02/20/2011 at 3:23 PM

                Was Dyl, and not Victor, offered the deal? I doubt it: he seems to be in too deep, and the proverbial butt/back slap “heard ’round the world” from one of Dyl’s two daddies to the other — Needham to Joe — only confirmed that in my mind.

                Yet, if Dyl was offered a deal, what then would the government offer in exchange for his testimony? A diplomatic post in East Timor? A cook’s job at the Four Seasons? An editing assignment for children’s books at Random House? More continuing ed credits for massage therapy at a local community college? A new and ethical sugar daddy
                with both a Mercedes and a spacious kitchen?

                I guess that the government ultimately offered nothing but his freedom, which, by itself, may not be worth much.

  11. 02/17/2011 at 8:24 AM

    “I predict another round of criminal charges prior to the end of 2012,” says Bill O. I agree; positively. But the “2012” depends upon this civil trial ending during 2011. These lawyers (except the insurance companies’ attorneys) may be in this for life.

    And AnZ: I sounded abrupt when I answered your comment above.
    After the judge clearly instructs counsel as to when the 5th may and may not be invoked, and the depo process is resumed, if counsel still cannot agree as to a particular question – or many questions – the depo may simply proceed and the written questions and answers/non-answers would then be referred to the judge with proper supporting motions and argument, and he will rule on the applicability of the 5th as to each and every question. (He’ll be pissed; but it’s his job.)

    Then the depo is resumed, and the deponent is required to answer – to the extent instructed by the judge – under penalty of contempt of the court. All this is accomplished well before trial. The jury knows nothing of it. The depo answers and refusals to answer then may or may not be used by opposing counsel (as he/she deems beneficial) and thus they are then “put into evidence” for the jury’s consideration.

    The deponent’s dilemma when deciding whether to answer of take the 5th is determining whether his/her answer or the inference to be taken from his objection to answer will be more damning in the eyes of each juror. Any one of the jurors may think of what Razi said in the hallway sometime ago (whether true or not) and infer: “You don’t take the 5th if you’re not guilty of something.” That dastardly inference!

    • Kate
      02/17/2011 at 9:04 AM

      Great summation, boofoc, and many thanks. I suppose we need to fasten our seat belts; it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.

      • SwannToo
        02/17/2011 at 9:58 AM

        Bill O, boof, and Kate – If you go back and read “Ranking Rankin,” Rich and Denton were predicting there may be criminal charges come out from Civil Trial by Judge Rankin. The prediction was still vivid in my mind because I remember the line “fasten your seat belts” and Denton added “it will be a wild ride.”

        • PeterZ
          02/17/2011 at 10:51 AM

          I agree with Swann Too.

          Rich even discussed criminal charges coming out of the Civil case on the radio show with “dialing the Chief Lanier” on his very last post but then we don’t see him anymore here.

          He addressed it very early on. As early as since THE STAUS HEARING WITH JUDGE HEDGE.

          Sorry about the caps.

          • Craig
            02/17/2011 at 11:26 AM

            PeterZ – You agree with SwannToo because you’re one in the same? At least you share the same IP address. What’s up with that? Please explain to us offline.

            • mw
              02/17/2011 at 11:39 AM

              I agree with almost everything that mw guys says. He really has is head on straight.

            • PeterZ
              02/17/2011 at 2:12 PM

              Craig, Exactly what are you asking? Is an agreement not allowed? PZ

              • AnnaZed
                02/17/2011 at 2:30 PM

                Come now PZ, surely that was plain enough. Craig is pointing out that both you and SwannToo are posting from the identical ISP address; ergo the likelihood of you both being the same person is very high. He did graciously give you the opportunity to explain via email that you are married or Siamese Twins or some-such mitigating possibility. This is not rocket science.

                To this assembled I just wanted to say that the Z family split off from the Zed family a few generations ago and really are not considered even distant relatives anymore. In fact there was some talk of intermarriage and such on the Z side but I can’t confirm that.

  12. Michael
    02/17/2011 at 10:48 AM

    ah yes, the ole “let’s pretend the defendants never existed and that a crime never happened”

    otherwise, ya know, someone might find out the truth

  13. PeterZ
    02/17/2011 at 11:01 AM

    Also erased the night of August 2, 2006, from our calendar. Not a bad idea.

  14. CDinDC (boycott BP)
    02/17/2011 at 7:47 PM

    hi Rich.

  15. KiKi
    02/28/2011 at 3:28 PM

    This does not really have much to do with this case but since we were discussing Crawford and the Confrontation Clause on this post, I wanted to point out that the US Supreme Court released an opinion this morning which alters the previous Confrontation Clause cases and may limit (or will destroy according to Scalia) the protections afforded in Crawford.

    The case held that a statement made by a victim before he died from his wounds was admissible because the shooter was still on the loose and thus the statements were not testimonial (the standard) because they were made in order to assist the police with an on-going emergency.

    I don’t see how this case could be relevant here unless the prosecution/plaintiff’s could argue that there was an ongoing emergency because an intruder was out in the city murdering people. But then they would have to give credence to the intruder theory and that is probably not happening.

    So just food for thought.

    Here is the opinion if you are really into S and M: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-150.pdf

    You may want to at least read Scalia’s dissent as he is more fiery and enraged than usual.

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