The three housemates acquitted this year on charges of covering up the 2006 murder of Washington attorney Robert Wone are scheduled to stand trial next October in a wrongful death suit tied to the homicide.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Brook Hedge set the October 2011 trial date today at a brief status conference. An earlier trial date in June was canceled amid concern about summer vacation plans among jurors. For background on the suit against Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward, click here.
Patrick Regan, an attorney for Wone's widow, Katherine, said in court he expects the plaintiff’s case to take up about six days. Robert Spagnoletti of Washington’s Schertler & Onorato, who represents Ward, said the defense case could take two to three weeks.
Regan of Regan, Zambri & Long noted in court that Price, Zaborsky and Ward have refused to answer interrogatory questions about the homicide. Regan said after the hearing that “defendants do not assert their Fifth Amendment rights if they’re not guilty of something.”
Spagnoletti announced in court that Ward is obtaining new counsel, Ralph Spooner, of Oregon’s Spooner & Much. Spagnoletti said he expects to remain “in the background.” Spooner was not reached for comment.
Covington associate Brett Reynolds has joined the case on the plantiffs' side, coinciding with the departure of Covington associate Daniel Suleiman. Suleiman has joined the Justice Department’s Criminal Division as counsel to Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, a former Covington partner.
The October 2011 trial date could get pushed back. That month, Hedge also has a medical malpractice trial scheduled. It’s unknown whether that case will settle before trial.