U.S. accused of tampering in Dugard case [View all]
Source: SF Chronicle
Lawyers for Jaycee Dugard, seeking to hold federal officials responsible for her abduction and nearly two decades of captivity by a paroled rapist, accused government attorneys Monday of tampering with a crucial witness who allegedly withdrew her support of Dugard after a phone call from the Justice Department.
In a federal court filing in San Francisco, Dugard's lawyers said government attorneys had committed a "flagrant violation" of legal ethics and court rules that deserved a severe penalty: a finding that federal authorities should have revoked Phillip Garrido's parole and sent him back to prison before he kidnapped the 11-year-old girl in 1991. That would amount to a verdict in Dugard's favor and leave only the amount of damages to be determined by a jury.
The government's conduct "has unfairly prejudiced plaintiffs (Dugard and her two daughters, both fathered by Garrido) by depriving them of their sole expert witness," said attorney Dale Kinsella in the court filing.
The Justice Department was not available for comment late Monday. Kinsella said the department's lawyers have claimed they were not aware that the witness had agreed to act as a consultant for Dugard when they contacted her.