Prosecutors in the case of murdered Washington lawyer Robert Wone said today they were considering narrowing the scope of their case, thereby possibly avoiding evidence that the victim had been sexually assaulted or drugged.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner said the government’s position was “evolving” after D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz asked him whether the prosecution planned to introduce evidence that Wone, who was found stabbed to death in a Dupont Circle row house, had been sexually assaulted and injected with a paralyzing agent.
“We’re moving away from the sexual assault proof,” Kirschner said, adding that his team did plan to present evidence of restraints that were found in the house. Kirschner also said that, while the prosecution planned to show evidence of needle marks found on Wone’s body, they would not try to draw conclusions about what might have been injected into him.
Prosecutors have charged former Arent Fox partner Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward with obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence and conspiracy, alleging the three worked to hamper the police investigation into the murder of Wone, a former Covington & Burling associate. Wone’s body was found in Price and Zaborsky’s house, where the three defendants lived.
Kirschner also said that prosecutors would not “directly” argue to the jury that any of the three suspects in the case had personally assaulted, restrained or killed the victim.
Kirschner did caution the judge that the government’s theory in the case could shift before the trial. That prompted Ward’s attorney, David Schertler of Schertler & Onorato, to complain that the defense was dealing with “a moving target.” He asked the judge whether she could set a date by which the government would have to settle on an argument.
The judge responded that the defense would know by May 10, the day the trial is scheduled to start.