The family of lawyer Robert Wone filed a $20 million wrongful death suit against three men who were indicted last week for allegedly obstructing the investigation into his death.
The complaint, filed today in D.C. Superior Court, accuses Arent Fox Partner Joe Price, 37, his partner Victor Zaborsky, 42, and their roommate Dylan Ward, 38 of conspiring to thwart the investigation and of “intentional, reckless and/or negligent acts” that caused Wone’s death.
Wone, a lawyer with Radio Free Asia, was stabbed to death in the second-floor guestroom of Price’s Dupont Circle home in 2006. A friend of Price's from college, Wone had arranged to stay the night rather than commute home to Oakton, Va., because he was working late.
Wone had recently left Covington & Burling at the time of his death. Partner Benjamin Razi is representing Wone’s widow, Kathy, in the lawsuit. Covington’s Eric Holder Jr., reportedly President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, has also been involved in the case, though his name was not on the complaint.
“The civil suit filed today is another step in the effort to seek justice for Robert,” Razi said in a statement. “This effort will not end until all persons responsible for his murder and the cover-up of his murder are held to account."
The roommates have told police they believe an intruder attacked Wone. Police say there is evidence that Wone was drugged and sexually assaulted, which they say is inconsistent with the intruder theory. Nothing was taken from the house and there were no signs of forced entry.
The complaint relies heavily on an affidavit made public last month after Ward was arrested in Miami-Dade County, Fla., on obstruction charges. The affidavit alleges that the men obstructed the homicide investigation by "altering and orchestrating the crime scene, planting evidence, delaying the reporting of the murder to the authorities, and lying to the police about the true circumstances of the murder."
Price, Ward, and Zaborsky, were indicted last Thursday. Ward was arraigned this morning in D.C. Superior Court. Price and Zaborsky turned themselves in last week. Superior Judge Frederick Weisberg has ordered them to wear electronic ankle bracelets, submit to weekly drug tests, and abide by a curfew as conditions of their pre-trial release.