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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: perjury

Feds: Moses may contradict own testimony

Spokane police Officer Tim Moses may contradict testimony he gave to a grand jury in 2009 if he testifies as a prosecution witness in the federal trial of Officer Karl Thompson, according to court documents filed this week.

U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle issued an order today that requires Moses to testify. His lawyer, Chris Bugbee, has said he expects Moses to be offered immunity.

Bugbee told prosecutors that Moses' testimony “may be inconsistent with sworn testimony that he previously provided in front of the Grand Jury, in and for the Eastern District of Washington on June 16, 2009.”

Prosecutors say Moses changed his statement about Thompson hitting Zehm in the head with a baton after talking to Thompson “and having later met with Defendant's counsel while then unrepresented by Mr. Bugbee.”

Moses is one of 22 witnesses prosecutors sought to declare as hostile, which allows them more freedom in questioning. Hostile witnesses can be asked leading questions.

In a document explaining the need for the designation, prosecutors described the deep support Thompson has in the Spokane Police Department.

“Many local law enforcement officers and others have come to the defense of Defendant Thompson as they see this prosecution as an unwarranted attack on one of their own and on the Spokane Police Department that employs Defendant,” according to a document filed Tuesday.

Moses is expected to testify today. Check here for minute-by-minute updates from the courtroom.

Past coverage:

Oct. 19: Retired SPD cpl. declared hostile witness in Zehm case

Oct. 17: Police use '505' to support Thompson

Oct. 13: Officer may plead 5th in Thompson trial

New charges in Forker Road homicide

The girlfriend of jailed Hells Angel sergeant-at-arms Ricky Warren Jenks has been charged with three felonies for her alleged role in the murder of a 22-year-old man whose body was found in the back of his burning car in April.

Britney Bjork, 30, is accused of helping burn Nicholas J. Thoreson's car and driving murder suspects Taylor J. Wolf, 20; Justice E.D Sims, 19; and Breeanna C. Sims, 20; from the scene at Forker Road near Bigelow Gulch. Thoreson is pictured left; Wolf is pictured lower right.

In addition to first-degree rendering criminal assistance and second-degree arson, Bjork is charged with conspiracy to commit perjury in the first-degree for allegedly helping Wolf craft false statements.

She pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Spokane County Superior Court and was allowed to stay out of jail pending trial. She declined comment today after Jenks was sentenced in U.S. District Court to two years in prison.

Wolf had been staying at Jenks and Bjork’s home at the Knotty Pines Cottages, 13615 E. Trent Ave., since before Jenks’ arrest on federal gun charges in March, according to court documents.

Detectives Bjork sent Wolf a text message early April 13 that said to tell a friend “that everything is fine that you got lost and stranded. you thought you were around bigalow but really you were by otis orchards. clear the fact that you were anywhere near that area!”

Wolf talked to Bjork over the phone from jail after his arrest. Detectives listened to the calls and say Bjork told him, “You've been with me…this whole…time,” to which Wolf responded, “I know, I never left your side.”

But detectives say Wolf also told Bjork on April 22 he was going to shoot Thoreson but “I couldn’t do it, so me and Justice did it together,” according to court documents, citing recorded phone conversations. “But we had gloves on and stuff.”

Wolf and the Simses are charged with aggravated first-degree murder, among other charges, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison because prosecuters are not seeking the death penalty.

Also charged in the case is the Simses' half-brother, who pleaded guilty in juvenile court to threatening a witness in the case. The teen is not being named because he was charged as a juvenile.

Emily K. Karlinsey, 19, who is accused of making threatening phone calls to a witness, is set to go to trial in Superior Court.

Past coverage:

May 20: Sibling murder suspects plead not guilty

May 3: Homicide victim remembered in obituary

Ellington road-rage trial set for Aug. 29

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A North Idaho man whose conviction of second-degree murder was overturned will stand trial again on the charge this month.

The Coeur d’Alene Press reports that 50-year-old Jonathan W. Ellington’s three-week jury trial is expected to start Aug. 29 in front of 1st District Judge John Luster.

Ellington, of Hayden, was convicted in August 2006 after prosecutors said he was involved in a road-rage incident that turned deadly when 41-year-old Vonette Lee Larsen was run over.

But earlier this year, a unanimous Idaho Supreme Court threw out his convictions and granted him a new trial. The high court cited prosecutorial misconduct and the likelihood that an Idaho State Police officer committed perjury in its ruling.

Past coverage:

June 23: Ellington briefly leaves jail while awaiting new trial

Dec. 5, 2006: Ellington sentenced to 25 years in prison

Sept. 8, 2006: Ellington found guilty

Aug. 25, 2006: Daughter describes mother's death

Idaho road rage suspect freed for 6 days

A man who was released from prison last week after his second-degree murder conviction was overturned turned himself in Wednesday to the Kootenai County Jail to await a new trial.

Jonathan Wade Ellington, 50, was sentenced to 25 years in prison and 15 years each on two counts of aggravated battery charges for running over a woman in what prosecutors called a road-rage incident Jan. 1, 2006.

The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously May 27 that Ellington, of Hayden, should get a new trial. Ellington's attorney, Anne Taylor, said she will seek a reduction of her client's $1 million bond

. Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh, however, said he will request that the bond remain where it was set.

A status hearing has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Monday in 1st District Judge John Luster's courtroom.

Read the rest of Alison Boggs' story here.

Past coverage:

Sept. 8, 2006: Ellington found guilty

Aug. 25, 2006: Daughter describes mother's death

Trooper on leave amid perjury allegation

A veteran state trooper accused of perjury in an Idaho Supreme Court decision that vacated a murder conviction has been placed on paid leave.

Cpl. Fred Rice is accused of  lying on the stand during the road rage trial of Jonathan Wade Ellington of Athol, who was convicted of second-degree murder for running over a woman on New Years Day 2006. Ellington is serving a 25-year prison sentence.

Read the full statement from Idaho State Police at the Eye on Boise blog.

Murder conviction tossed in ‘06 road rage

BOISE – State Supreme Court justices have thrown out the second-degree murder conviction of a North Idaho man, citing prosecutorial misconduct and the likelihood that an Idaho State Police officer committed perjury during the 2006 trial.

Jonathan Wade Ellington, of Hayden, was sentenced to 25 years for second-degree murder and 15 years each on two counts of aggravated battery charges for running over a woman during what was described as a road-rage encounter on New Year’s Day 2006.

But Friday, Idaho’s high court unanimously ruled Ellington should get a new trial. In the 32-page ruling, the justices wrote the Kootenai County prosecutor engaged in misconduct during the trial, in part by engaging in improper questioning meant to turn the jury against Ellington.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story here.

When Ellington was sentenced in December 2006, his girlfriend, Ann Thomas, vowed to appeal. “Eventually, it’ll get to a real court,” Thomas said.  Ellington called the case against him “mind-boggling.” “I don’t understand this – I never will,” he said. Read that story here.

Other past coverage:

Sept. 8, 2006: Ellington found guilty

Aug. 25, 2006: Daughter describes mother's death

Deliberations begin in Barry Bonds trial

RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The eight women and four men sat in the jury box for more than 4½ hours, listening to angry arguments from federal prosecutors and Barry Bonds' attorneys at the end of a 12-day trial that exposed the dark world of baseball's Steroids Era.  Now, Bonds' fate is up to them.

After listening to tawdry accusations of drug use, theft and body parts that grew (Bonds' head) and shrank (his testicles), the 12-member panel gets to decide whether the home run king will become a convicted felon.

Bonds' trial on charges he lied to a grand jury more than seven years ago when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs ended Thursday with closing arguments from both sides that were filled with virulence and self-righteousness.

“There's a real irony to this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella concluded. “These substances that the defendant took to make himself strong — he wasn't strong. He was weak. He was too weak to tell the truth despite all the anabolic steroids.”

And with that, at 3:51 p.m., U.S. District Judge Susan Illston turned to the jury box and said: “At this point ladies and gentlemen, we're turning it over to you.”

The jury's first order of business when it starts deliberations today — the day the World Series flag is raised at nearby AT&T Park, home of Bonds' San Francisco Giants — is to elect a foreman. Then it must sort through the testimony of 25 witnesses and hundreds of exhibits that include syringes, vials and dizzying computer graphs of drug tests.

A seven-time MVP regarded as among the greatest hitters ever, Bonds is charged with three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. His lawyers ridiculed the prosecution as being celebrity obsessed and willing to cut deals with anyone who would implicate perhaps the top player of his generation.

“It's part of an effort to demonize Barry Bonds, and it's very wrong,” lead defense lawyer Allen Ruby said.

 Cristina Arguedas, another of Bonds' attorneys, repeatedly took off her glasses and pointed them contemptuously at Jeff Novitzky (right), the tall, bald federal investigator who was seated at the prosecution table.

“They have the power to end careers and to ruin lives,” she said to the jury, her voice quavering. “And nobody gets to test that evidence unless they have the wherewithal and internal strength to come to a jury trial — to you.”

Read the rest of the AP story by clicking the link below.

Spokane prostitute charged with perjury

A Spokane prostitute is accused of lying about her identity and fabricating testimony during a bench trial last fall.

Jodi R. Macabitas, 42, alias Jodi R. Rima, appeared in court Tuesday on charges on felony charges of first-degree perjury and false swearing.

Investigators say Macabitas identified herself as Madison McBride during a possession of stolen property trial before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque last October.

Defendant Robert Wilkening, Jr., was acquitted after testimony that included Macabitas describing a plot between two men to falsely accuse Wilkening. Investigators believe Macabitas fabricated the story.

Deputy Prosecutor Bob Sargent said in court documents that Macabitas' testimony was “crucial to the case.”

But Wilkening's lawyer, Doug Phelps, said he doesn't believe Macabitas' was crucial to Wilkening's acquittal.

“We really didn't even need that testimony,” Phelps said. Phelps said he didn't relaize the woman had lied about her identity until Sargent told him after the trial.

Prior to testifying, Macabitas provided police a phone number that Detective David Staben says belonged to someone who claims not to know the woman. After her testimony, the man said he had a friend who matched the witness's description, leading Staben to identify Macabitas as a suspect.

Her parents described her as “a homeless person involved in the drug lifestyle,” according to a probable cause affidavit. Staben contacted Macabitas at 1st and Cowley, where she identified herself as a prostitute and “admitted that she lied about everything in court,” according to the affidavit.

Macabitas remains jailed on $2,000 bond.

3-strikes trial leads to perjury charge

A Spokane man has been charged with perjury for testimony given at a trial 18 months ago. 

Antonine G. Marshall, 26, (pictured) is accused of lying during a trial in April 2009 in which Dwight L. “Hard” Russ was convicted and sent to prison for life under the state’s three-strikes law.

Marshall initially told police he arrived at the home with two men he couldn’t identify, and that he didn’t go inside the home, according to an affidavit by Spokane police Detective Lonnie Tofsrud.

But at trial, Marshall testified that he was allowed inside the home and possessed a firearm but never pointed it at anybody. He said Russ, a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, never touched the gun, but several other witnesses testified to the contrary, police say.

Russ was convicted of first-degree burglary and second-degree assault and is serving a life sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary. Marshall, who had no previous felony convictions, already had pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree assault in May 2008 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Now Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest him on the new perjury charge, which Deputy Prosecutor Mark Cipolla filed on Nov. 9.

Marshall, 5-foot-8 and 220 pounds, is a transient. Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Gangster’s sister charged with perjury

The sister of a Spokane man sentenced to 15 years in prison for a gang-related shooting is accused of lying while under oath last fall.

Jasmine N. Singh, 26, pleaded not guilty Monday to one count of first-degree perjury in connection with testimony at an evidence hearing Nov. 23 before Superior Court Judge Kathleen O’Connor.

Singh told Deputy Prosecutor Larry Haskell during that hearing that she never talked to her brother, Anthony D. Singh, about his case, but police recorded jail phone calls between the two that show otherwise, according to court documents.

Anthony Singh, 22, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a jury convicted him in December for a July 2008 shooting that didn’t injure anyone but made his Crips gang affiliations the center of the trial.

Jasmine Singh, who said her brother is not a gang member, appeared in court on the felony perjury charge today after receiving a summons.

Her public defender, Dana Beard, asked Judge Linda Tompkins to allow Singh to skip the jail booking process, saying it violated her due process rights, is an unfair burden and is “embarassing.”

Tompkins declined.

Singh said after court that the accusation against her is false.

“They’re charging me for something in Anthony’s case that I had nothing to do with,” she said.

Past coverage:

Feb. 11: Gang ties mean long sentence for gunman

Dec. 14: Crips gangster on trial for ‘08 shooting

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