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Sirens & Gavels

Phone records back up Steele recordings

BOISE - Edgar Steele's lawyers have questioned the reliability of recordings that show their client discussing the plot to kill his wife with alleged hitman-turned-FBI-informant Larry Fairfax.

Prosecutors used phone records provided by the defense to poke a hole in that claim this morning.
 
Steele told his wife, Cyndi Steele, after his arrest that he expected investigators to provide a manufactured recording that combined several conversations into one.
 
In the recordings, which jurors listened to Wednesday, Fairfax calls Steele as he's driving to his Sagle-area home. 
 
A time-stamped record of that phone call is in records shown to jurors today by the defense. Lawyers were showing jurors the numerous and lengthy phone calls between the Steeles.
 
Cyndi Steele acknowledged the phone record but emphasized that she firmly believes her husband is innocent.
 
Steele's lawyer Robert McAllister mentioned his client's legal work with the Aryan Nations today while cross examining Cyndi Steele. 
 
Prosecutors objected, saying it isn't relevant, but Judge B. Lynn Winmill allowed the testimony. 
 
Cyndi Steele agreed with defense lawyer Robert McAllister that her husband had represented unpopular causes, including Richard Butler and the Aryan Nations and said her family has had previous threats made on their lives.
 
Steele has said she believes her husband was framed by the federal government.
 
Cyndi Steele also said she was helping her husband with his research into the Russian mail order bride scam. She agreed with McAllister that the emails her husband sent to the women amounted to cyber-space fantasy.
 
She agreed that Edgar is an “excellent writer” who was very capable of writing emails and sounding like “a love-sick teenager.”
 
She said Edgar never threatened her or her mother and recently helped with her mother's mortgage before his arrest.
 
She said Edgar told her to go to Oregon to help her mother.
 
“He never objected,” she said. “He was always sad to see me go, but he never objected.”
 
Cyndi Steele's testimony has ended. 
 
Kevin Mitchell, who owns CoinNuts in Coeur d'Alene, testified briefly, telling jurors how he'd cashed in a large amount of silver for Edgar Steele in April. 
 
Josh Young, who was working at the Quik Lube in Coeur d'Alene when he spotted the pipe bomb under Cyndi's car, also briefly testified.
 
Mark Fox of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office bomb squad will continue testifying after the afternoon break. He helped dismantle the pipe bomb.

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