Also in attendance were Jeff Robinson and Amanda Lee for Daniel McGowan, as well as Marc Blackman for Jonathan Paul via conference call.
The first order of business was a continuance for the upcoming discovery hearing (originally set the same day as Jeff Hogg's grumbles hearing, August 15th) in which defendants' attorneys will ask for the court to order the release of surveillance evidence in discovery. The US Attorney's office has been dancing around the release of this surveillance, which could go back many years. What do they have to hide? Unwarranted wiretaps? Agents provacatuers?We'll see...
That hearing was continued (postponed) till September 6th, 10;30 am.
Next, Amanda Lee requested that discovery released to defense last week be viewable by defendants without a lawyer present. There is currently an order in place that only allows the defendants to view this discovery (the testimony of cooperating defendants) in the presence of their lawyers. This makes it obviously very difficult and expensive for defendants whose lawyers are far away to view this discovery. The US Atty (Kirk Engdall) says the order is in place because the discussion or distribution of this discovery could "intensify the security risk" of cooperating defendants. A discussion ensued in which Jonathan's attorney, Marc Blackman, made suggestions about ways in which copies of this discovery could be given to defendants... on colored or watermarked paper similar to what banks use, to make copying impossible. Engdall said that the US Atty's office did not feel any of these measures would ensure the security of the documents. Nathan's attorney (I'm sorry, I didn't get his name) said that making copies would be impossible for Nathan and Joyanna while in jail. Engdall said that security issues in jail occur when prisoners are "shuffled" and papers are misplaced. He asked that a decision on the issue be delayed until both sides could agree on a way to protect the confidentiality of the discovery.
A date was set, August 22nd* at 9:30 am, for a hearing on the issue.
Then Engdall proposed a date be set for motion to continue the trial to a later date, since the US atty's office would need time to subpoena witnesses from 5 federal districts to testify at trial. He stated it seemed all parties would want an extension of the original October 31st trial date.
That issue will also be heard on August 22nd*.
[*the August 22nd hearing date is contigent on a schedule change for one of the defense attorneys. If he is unable to reschedule a trial set for that date, these hearings will happen at the same time as the discovery hearing on Sept. 6th.]