Sirens & Gavels

Bugbee: Moses didn’t cover anything up

After a press conference in the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse in Spokane, Wash., Otto Zehm family members Dale Zehm, center, with his wife Sandy, thank U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby, far left, for helping get a guilty verdict in the Karl Thompson trial, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
After a press conference in the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse in Spokane, Wash., Otto Zehm family members Dale Zehm, center, with his wife Sandy, thank U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby, far left, for helping get a guilty verdict in the Karl Thompson trial, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

After a press conference in the U.S. Courthouse in Spokane, Otto Zehm's family members, Dale Zehm, center, with his wife, Sandy, thank U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby, far left, following the jury's conviction of Spokane police Officer Karl Thompson. (SRPhoto/Colin Mulvany)

 Attorney Chris Bugbee, who represents Spokane police Officer Tim Moses, said his reaction to the jury's conviction of Karl Thompson today was "the same reaction as everybody."

"It's shocking to see a police officer who we trust to protect us being convicted of this crime, regardless of how you see the case," Bugbee said. "I'm sad for the community but I'm glad it has been resolved one way or the other."

 Moses, who was granted immunity for his testimony during Thompson's trial, told jurors he was manipulated by the FBI into wrongly telling a grand jury that Thompson had said he'd hit Otto Zehm in the neck, head and upper torso with a police baton. Medics included that information in a report and said Moses told them it came from Thompson.

"I don't think Tim attempted to lie or mislead or participate in a coverup," Bugbee said today.

Bugbee said when Moses watched video of himself at the Zip Trip that night with investigators before his grand jury testimony, "he kind of was misled and said 'well it must have been me if you guys say it was me,'" Bugbee said. "He shouldn't have. he kind of set aside his own thinking and allowed his trust in the FBI to take over."

Bugbee said he doesn't know if the jury's verdict says anything about their view of Moses's credibility.

"I think the video alone was the powerful piece of evidence the government had," Bugbee said. "I can understand the conviction seeing the video."

He said jurors often don't consider witness testimony if there's an issue with credibility.

"They'll just disregard the testimony if there's other evidence they can decide the case on," Bugbee said.

U.S. Attorney Mike Ormsby said at a press conference today that he couldn't confirm or deny if an investigation is ongoing. Though prosecutors said in trial that the Spokane Police Department "whitewashed" the Zehm investigation, Ormsby said Thompson's conviction does not reflect on other officers.

Bugbee said this afternoon that he doesn't expect Moses to face charges. He said prosecutors seemed to understand what had happened when they granted Moses immunity.

He said Moses, as a patrol officer, has little experience with interrogations and reacted as many people do afterward.

 "They feel like they were given a sense of trust that didn't exist and they were taken advantage of" Bugbee said. "Tim felt like he was taken advantage of, and in some sense, he probably was because that's the nature of an interrogation in a felony investigation."

"I think Tim Moses was doing everything he could to be honest and truthful, and I really think he felt like he was getting taken advantage of."

Bugbee said little is known about the government's ongoing obstruction of justice investigation, other than a target letter sent to Officer Sandy McIntyre, who was the first officer to review the surveillance video and see that Zehm never lunged at Thompson as police first alleged.

"I hope they're careful in who they decide to prusue in keeping in midn taht the community also has an interest t in putting this behind us," Bugbee said. "The jury certainly believes that Mr. Zehm's rights were violated, and i hope that the community's satisfied with the conviction of Officer Thompson."




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