Monday, February 25, 2013
I write today to clear up some confusion exhibited in comments over the weekend regarding the basis for Judge Nelson’s order denying the defendant’s motion to depose Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represents Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton. As all of you know, he located Witness 8, who is referred to as DD to protect her identity and privacy. She was Trayvon’s girlfriend and was talking to him when the defendant accosted and attacked Trayvon moments before shooting him to death.
Crump recorded a telephonic interview with her from his office in which she reported that Trayvon told her that he was being followed by a “creepy man” in a vehicle as he was walking home. He ran to get away from the creepy man and thought he had succeeded, but the creepy man suddenly appeared on foot and close by.
She heard the following exchange:
Trayvon: “Why are you following me for?”
Old Man: “Why are you here?”
She heard what sounded like a physical struggle.
Trayvon: Get off!
Then she lost the connection.
DD is an important witness for the prosecution because her testimony contradicts the defendant’s claim that Trayvon hunted, confronted and attacked him as he was walking back to his parked vehicle.
The defense clearly has a proper basis to depose DD and no doubt will eventually do so, since the prosecution has listed her as a Class A witness (major witness) on their witness list. The defense has delayed taking her deposition claiming that it must obtain other unspecified information prior to the deposition. For example, the defense seeks to know her address prior to the deposition.
Judge Nelson denied that request for the second time at the hearing on Friday reiterating that they can ask her that question at her deposition.
To understand why the Court denied that request, one need look no farther than the outrageous and unlawful harassment and doxing inflicted by the defendant’s supporters on the defendant’s cousin, who accused him of molesting her over an 8-year period when they were children, and two innocent girls named Dee Dee in Miami, whom they erroneously believed to have been Trayvon’s girlfriend.
The defense also seeks to depose Benjamin Crump to inquire into how he discovered who she was, how he set up the interview and how he conducted it. He has already provided that information to defense counsel in a 15-page affidavit, but they seek further inquiry.
I do not believe there is any legitimate legal issue whether Benjamin Crump is an attorney who acted in his official capacity as counsel for Trayvon’s parents to locate DD and interview her to collect and preserve information to support a potential lawsuit against the defendant for causing the wrongful death of their son as well as to support a possible murder charge against the defendant. There simply is no question that his interest in representing Trayvon’s parents is in opposition to the defendant’s interest in being granted immunity from civil and criminal prosecution and that was just as certain before the defendant was charged as it is today. Therefore, what he did to secure DD’s interview and all of his notes and research regarding it are attorney-client work product and protected from disclosure.
Judge Nelson reportedly also found that he was acting as “opposing counsel,” a finding that provides additional legal justification to shield him from submitting to a deposition since that is prohibited, subject to a few limited and inapplicable exceptions. There is no serious question that he was acting in that capacity even though no criminal charge or civil suit had been filed.
Either way I do not see a significant legal issue to appeal.
If you want to read an excellent legal argument regarding this issue, check-out Bruce Blackwell’s memorandum.
Meanwhile, trouble is brewing at the Treehouse where Sundance is calling for Don West to take over the defense. According to his open letter to Mr. West, he believes O’Mara is incompetent and DD does not exist. I do not link to that site, but Opera Carla posted a copy of the letter in the comments thread to my Many Blessings post.