Spagnoletti Responds to Razi on 5th Amendment
Two weeks ago, the Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Compel Deposition Testimony.
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