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In a few days, retired judge Stanley Sporkin will issue his report on the discovery abuses in the Pershing Park cases. It seems unlikely that he will find out just who destroyed the running resume and erased key portions of the radio communications on Sept. 27, 2002. So how will authorities get to the bottom of this alleged cover up?
During last week’s hearing on the cases, Judge Emmet Sullivan suggested that he would refer the matter to the feds if there was a hint of criminal wrongdoing in the evidence destruction.
In an interview with City Desk, Councilmember Mary Cheh says she welcomes the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s or the Department of Justice’s involvement. “This appears to be an extraordinary cover up,” she explains. “Somebody ought to be held accountable.”
Cheh agrees with her colleague, Councilmember Phil Mendelson, that holding hearings on the evidence abuses would be an empty exercise. She says the only resolution must be a criminal investigation.
“Not to have some one held accountable is a really bad message,” Cheh says. “It comes in the context of our current government where the practice is to wait people out, deprive them of information….This would be a teachable moment.”
Mendelson says he wants to see what unfolds in federal court.
“If the judge finds criminal wrongdoing then of course it should be referred,” the councilmember says. “That’s always the question when documents aren’t produced. Was it intentional or not? If the evidence is clear that documents were intentionally held or destroyed then I think prosecution for obstruction of justice is appropriate.”
*photo by Darrow Montgomery.