The federal magistrate judge in Washington who is investigating missing or destroyed evidence in long-running civil suit against the city over the mass arrest of protesters wants to expand his probe.
Magistrate Judge John Facciola initially said he was looking into possible obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence, criminal charges that could be lodged against one or more current or former District of Columbia officials. The underlying suit was filed against the District in October 2002 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Last week, Facciola questioned about a dozen current and former District officials, including former Police Chief Charles Ramsey, to explore why missing police documents and video tied to the arrest of more than 400 protesters in September 2002. Lawyers for the plaintiffs, including a Bryan Cave team and Prof. Jonathan Turley, are seeking the so-called “running resume”—a log of police activity—and video from the protest scene.
Today, Facciola announced he wants to question six more people, including three officers and a former deputy mayor.
In a preliminary report published this afternoon, Facciola also said he wants to investigate two other areas: solicitation, preparation and submission of false or misleading testimony and misleading statements by District counsel.
Facciola said in his report today that there’s a conflict between two witnesses—the judge did not identify the witnesses—over the contents of a declaration. Facciola asked that the defendants and the plaintiffs’ attorneys be required to respond to why he should not be allowed to explore these two matters.
The judge indicated that, based on the week of hearings, it may still be possible for the District to acquire the “running resume” from late September 2002. Facciola has asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to issue an order demanding the District, at its own expense, create a report. (In March, Sullivan tapped Facciola as a special master.)
Lawyers for the defendants, Facciola said, should be required to file a written report documenting the success or failure of the initiative by Oct. 31.
Facciola has also asked Sullivan for permission to review depositions, declarations and affidavits in the underlying suit the protesters filed. Lawyers for the defendants are supposed to Facciola's request.