Non-Answer Answers?

Defendants Provide Answers to Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint

On September 29, Covington’s Ben Razi entered a Consent Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint.

In lieu of answering many of the specific allegations of the Complaint in these February 24 filings, defendants Price, Ward and Zaborsky once again fall back on 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. 

Collectively, the three admit to only a handful of points:

1. Katherine Wone is the Personal Representative of the Estate of Robert Wone (but none have “sufficient information to admit or deny whether Katherine Wone is a citizen and resident of Virginia…)”

2. “Robert Wone was a resident and citizen of Virginia, a lawyer… and worked as the general Counsel for Radio Free Asia…”

3. All three admit that Price and Zaborsky “are domestic partners…”

From there, the three documets provide a couple of small headlines.

Price:

“…admits that he is a licensed attorney and formerly a resident of the District of Columbia…”

Ward:

“….admits that he is currently resides… (in) Miami, Shores, Florida…”

Zaborsky:

“…admits that he was formerly a resident of the District of Columbia…” 

The three defendants are also in agreement on two key points: 

Affirmative Defenses:  “(They) raise the affirmative legal defense that the Plaintiff’s claim, in whole or in part, is barred by the applicable statute of limitations… and/or laches.”

This may indicate the defense team is not ready to throw in the towel on fighting this case via a vigorous SoL argument. And lastly –

“Defendant(s) reserves the right to amend this Answer at such time when the possibility of further criminal prosecution no longer exists.”

Can anyone foresee a point when the three defendants won’t be under the threat of further criminal prosecution?  How do they get there from here?

All three docs follow and for reference, the Amended Complaint.

Price:

Ward:

Zaborsky:

 

Amended Complaint – September 29, 2010

27 comments for “Non-Answer Answers?

  1. Michael
    02/28/2011 at 2:29 PM

    The intruder made us believe one of the trouple murdered Robert Wone. All they can do is plead the fifth until the intruder finally turns himself in.

    lolll!!!
    LLOOLLLL!!
    LOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLL!

    Srsly though, intruder, if you’re reading this, I ask you to turn yourself into MPD. The defendants are three class-acts who would never harm a fly, let alone murder their friend. It’s not fair that they have to deal with all this drama. It’s not fair for Kathy either. Jeez just turn yourself in already!

    lolll intruder theoryyyyyyy

    • 03/01/2011 at 6:52 PM

      in pure black humor satire, if I were a writer for a comedy show in a pseudo SNL manne, I would write a skit with the intruder saying”gee if I knew that much drama was going on in that house I would have gone next door”

      • susan
        03/01/2011 at 10:37 PM

        What I don’t get about said intruder is why he/she/them would be so considerate as to clean up after the crime yet have the audacity to leave the back door slightly ajar upon departure. Or why said intruder was thoughtful enough to tippy toe up the staircase but do nothing to subdue RW’s “low grunts” or “screams.”

        • susan
          03/01/2011 at 10:44 PM

          Just to add to that, if one or all of the troup’ were involved, then it makes sense to “hear” the “low grunt/scream”; otherwise, they would look worse reporting R. Wone’s murder in the morning, etc. They had to discover it sometime. Just enough time for super quiet, clean neat but forgetful (door) leaping (fence) “intruder” to get out and for Mr. W to be just about deceased.

          • susan
            03/01/2011 at 10:49 PM

            “discover” in scenario above should be in quotation marks. It just seems that with needle marks and no sign of struggle and time to clean up, etc. an “intruder” and maybe there was one, but it would seem that that person would just stifle any “grunt” in order to tippy toe back down the stairs, etc. And if the “family” is truly innocent, then it’s time to start sharing info. about who had keys, what went on in the house, etc.

          • 03/02/2011 at 1:14 AM

            Susi just imagine all that. Reminds me of ? Richard Pryor comic episode of a guy in jail–> “Why did U kill everyone in the house. Criminal reply–” because they were home”. But only Robert died that night on the one night that he decides to stay over and someone has mentioned a threesome in the past.OK. right.

  2. CDinDC (boycott BP)
    02/28/2011 at 7:44 PM

    “…admits that he was formerly a resident of the District of Columbia…”

    formerly.

    Still living together?

    • Clio
      03/01/2011 at 8:57 PM

      Well, in his document above, Dyl admits to admitting that Joe and Vic are domestic partners, present tense — something that he allegedly did not respect while living at 1509 Swann.

  3. susan
    02/28/2011 at 9:10 PM

    In Zaborsky’s response, in para. (c), it reads in part,
    Defendant Zaborsky that he was formerly…” a verb is missing. Is that just considered a minor technical insignificance?

    Also, when Price and Z affirm a “domestic partnership” aren’t they solely acknowledging a legal status, like a marriage? And how does one get out of a domestic partnership? Is a separation required, agreement by both parties? Just wondering.

    • CDinDC
      03/01/2011 at 10:10 AM

      Susan,

      Here’s alink to the DC.gov website regarding termination of domestic partnerhship.

      http://dchealth.dc.gov/doh/cwp/view,a,3,q,573324,dohNav_GID,1787,dohNav,%7C33110%7C33120%7C33139%7C.asp#16

      In Joe and Victor’s case, they can either file for termination (takes 6 months to finalize), or they can simply stop living together and notify any entity that may have given them domestic partnership benefits that the dp has terminated.

      • Craig
        03/01/2011 at 3:50 PM

        I wonder if DP privilege rules are going to play into the proceedings…

        • CDinDC (boycott BP)
          03/01/2011 at 8:35 PM

          if they are still DPs. Until we know where they live and if they are living together, it’s anyone’s guess.

          • Clio
            03/01/2011 at 8:44 PM

            “Formerly of the District” may mean being stuck in perpetuity at Aunt Marcia’s in McLean, Virginia. Or, it could mean bunking with Uncle Michael in Silver Spring, Maryland. Or, it could mean staying with Dyl in their own house in Florida: why is Sparkly Cat, who apparently is no longer in a personal and intimate relationship with Mr. Price, living in Joe and Vic’s retirement dream home? Is he just a housesitter, or is this probable largesse a version of hush money?

            • susan
              03/01/2011 at 10:27 PM

              Thanks, CD.
              Good question, Clio. I suppose that whether they remain “family” in a trouple sense or a mafia-type/crime sense, they have a united front for practical reasons: united we stand, divided, one or some of us might be more easily convicted. And maybe something like this binds one for life. Also, it seems that even in the height of their troupledom fidelity was not an issue.

            • CDinDC (boycott BP)
              03/02/2011 at 9:55 AM

              The one thing that makes me wonder if Joe and Victor and still in a dp, is that Victor has hired counsel from Hunt Valley MD, which is in the Baltimore area. With all the more than competent legal counsel in the DC area, why go so far afield?

              • Clio
                03/02/2011 at 10:12 AM

                If they have finally parted ways, then do you think that the letters and cards, not the murder, were the last straws? Also, losing Sarah had to hurt Victor, and getting her back might be worth a temporary exile in Baltimore. Stay classy there, Victor!

              • Craig
                03/02/2011 at 10:20 AM

                CD – I wonder if that’s an insurance thing. Price’s civil team, is also from up Maryland way.

                • CDinDC (boycott BP)
                  03/02/2011 at 10:37 AM

                  ahh…you’re right, Craig. I missed that. If it had been a snake….

  4. Bill Orange
    02/28/2011 at 11:26 PM

    “Can anyone foresee a point when the three defendants won’t be under the threat of further criminal prosecution? How do they get there from here?”

    (a) Someone else is charged, tried, and found guilty of murdering Robert Wone.

    (b) The defendants themselves are charged, tried, and found either guilty or not guilty of murdering Robert Wone.

    • mw
      03/01/2011 at 5:48 PM

      And:

      (c) one or more them are granted full criminal immunity for their actions that night in exchange for testimony.

      (will never happen, but that’s a hypothetical).

  5. Bill Orange
    02/28/2011 at 11:30 PM

    I think their chances of winning a statute of limitations ruling at this point are minimal. Their best shot was their first one. The plaintiff is alleging that the defendants lied to her about what happened that night, which tolls the statute of limitations.

    The defendants, in turn, are invoking their fifth amendment rights about just about everything. Overall, I think this is their best legal move, but on the narrow question of the statute of limitations, I don’t see how they can argue against tolling the statute if they can’t/won’t say that they were NOT lying to Mrs Wone.

    KiKi, what’s your take on this?

    • KiKi
      03/01/2011 at 8:24 AM

      To be honest I really don’t know the chances of the SOL argument prevailing. This is definitely a Bruce question.

      I am also not an expert on civil procedure and the types of motions that can be filed in civil court. But basically there are two ways the defendants can still win on this argument.

      1. Through motions – even though the judge denied the motion for summary judgment, the defendants can still file other motions on this issue after the depositions and even after the plaintiff presents their case at trial (similar to the motion for judgment of acquittal we saw in the criminal trial). With these motions the defense will try to show that based on KW’s testimony, Eric Holder’s testimony (yeah right!), etc. KW knew enough to start the tolling for the SOL.

      The reason this may have a better chance than the Summary Judgment motion is that when KW submitted her affidavit for that motion she was not cross examined. So my thought is that if they can win on the SOL issue they win this way. As to your point Bill O. about the defendants not saying if they were lying, I think that the standard is based on what KW knew or should have known. The plaintiff’s will surely make the argument that the defendants’ lies impacted what she knew or should have known but the judge will look at it from a more objective standard.

      2. The Jury – I really cannot see them winning this argument in front of a jury. 1. it is way to technical for a jury to really grasp. 2. If the jury thinks the defendants lied to KW they are not going to want to let them off the hook, so the “you lied to her and she didn’t know” argument is going to have much more of an impact on the jury than a judge. 3. Even if the jury understands the technical SOL argument and thinks KW really should have known enough to toll the SOL, this could easily be a situation of jury nullification i.e. so what that the SOL ran, these dudes killed her husband.

      Oh and I also think it is a GREAT issue for appeal as it is purely technical and unemotional, which appellate courts love, and from what it seemed like from the motions there is not a lot of law directly on point here. So from a strategy point of view, the defense is going to want to bring this issue up as much as possible to ensure that it is preserved for appeal.

      • Bill Orange
        03/01/2011 at 8:59 AM

        I agree with you that a jury is never going to buy this argument. The only other way they can win is if Kathy Wone says something on the stand along the lines of, “I thought they were guilty as soon as I got the call that Robert had been stabbed.” I just don’t see this happening.

        I don’t really see an appeals court making much out of this, from my non-lawyer’s perspective. If the defendants are found liable on any of the charges, then the jury is pretty much saying that they committed fraudulent concealment.

        Here’s an interesting question: My recollection is that the SoL applied to pretty much everything EXCEPT the negligence issues. This raises the question of who will handle the appeal. Joe and Victor are currently being represented by lawyers that are paid by the insurance company. Are they off the hook for the appeals, if the appeals don’t relate to negligence claims?

        • Clio
          03/01/2011 at 9:00 PM

          The SOL gamble is SOL for the defense: Spag, you’ve got to do better than this!

  6. 03/02/2011 at 8:34 AM

    Totally agree that the likelihood of a jury’s decision favorable to defendants on the factual question underlying the statute of limitations is nil to none. KiKi’s scenario would unfairly underestimate KW’s ability as well as the jury’s competence. The only thing less likely is “the possibility of further criminal prosecution [of the trouple] no longer existing.” ‘Till hell freezes.

    If it has been discussed previously, I missed it; but, does the DC survivor’s statute – or other DC statute or case law – preclude KW’s maintaining an action individually, in her own right as widow of RW, against the trouple? If not, why has she sued only as representative of the estate (which, of course, is a separate entity)?

  7. 03/02/2011 at 8:42 AM

    AND, I should add: not only the possibility but the likelihood of further criminal prosecution against whoever killed Robert Wone will be greatly enhanced as a direct result of evidence emanating from the civil suit against these defendants. Watch out for those damnable inferences.

  8. Craig
    03/02/2011 at 4:09 PM

    Coming tomorrow: The MPD responds to defense discovery requests for files and documents.

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