An assistant U.S. attorney said today in D.C. Superior Court that, “barring something unforeseen,” the government does not plan to bring a murder case against Arent Fox lawyer Joseph Price, his domestic partner Victor Zaborsky, and their roommate Dylan Ward.
At today’s hearing, Price, Zaborsky, and Ward pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and evidence tampering stemming from the murder of Robert Wone in August 2006. The latest charges were laid out in a superseding indictment filed Thursday.
Judge Frederick Weisberg asked whether the government planned to go to trial on the superseding indictment. “At this moment, your Honor, that’s a fair assumption,” AUSA Glenn Kirschner replied.
Last year, the defendants were arrested and charged with obstruction. The superseding indictment alleges the men participated in a conspiracy to cover up the circumstances surrounding the fatal stabbing of Wone, who was killed in Price and Zaborsky’s row house near Dupont Circle. Prosecutors allege Price, Zaborsky, and Ward—either individually or in concert—cleaned Wone’s body after his death and placed him on a bed.
Defense lawyers Thomas Connolly, Bernie Grimm, and David Schertler have questioned the strength of the government’s case in briefs and arguments at recent court hearings. Judge Weisberg today set a status conference for April 24. Schertler of Schertler & Onorato told the judge he expects the trio of lawyers to share experts.
Kirschner noted that FBI analysis of forensic evidence is ongoing, but the prosecutor did not elaborate in court or in an interview after the hearing. The government has turned over discovery to the defense. In a letter to Kirschner this month, Grimm, a Cozen O'Connor partner, pressed the government to turn over additional documents, including all laboratory reports.
Weisberg today also signed an order, prepared by the government, to unseal search warrant affidavits in the Wone investigation. The judge said he wants the case to go to trial this year. He doesn’t want the case “to get a lot of age on it.”
Wone's family was in court today with Covington & Burling partner Benjamin Razi, who is representing the Wones in a wrongful death action against Price, Zaborsky, and Ward. Outside the courtroom, the defendants hugged well-wishers, thanking them for attending the hearing.