Mass-Murder Prosecutors|Accused of Interfering

     DENVER (CN) – Attorneys for accused mass murderer James Holmes claim prosecutors interfered with their investigation by presenting false information to victims and discouraging them from talking to members of the defense team.
     Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 166 criminal counts, including murder. Twelve people were killed and dozens wounded during the July 20, 2012, massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater showing “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.”
     Prosecutors indicated they will seek the death penalty.
     In a motion filed Tuesday in Arapahoe County Court, Holmes’s attorneys claims the prosecution violated Holmes’ right to a fair trial in numerous ways.
     “Mr. Holmes, through counsel, moves this Court to sanction the prosecution in this case for violating his state and federal constitutional rights. See U.S. Const. Amends V, VI, XIV; Colo. Const. art. II, secs. 16, 25. The prosecution has committed misconduct by directly interfering with defense counsel’s constitutional obligation to investigate this case by misrepresenting critical information, encouraging witnesses and victims to refrain from speaking with the defense, improperly giving legal advice to victims, and falsely presenting themselves as representing the victims in this matter,” the motion states.
     This is not the first time the defense has accused the prosecution of interfering. One year ago, Holmes’s attorney filed a similar motion that was dismissed without prejudice because “it lacked specificity,” according to the new motion.
     Holmes’s attorney say they now have proof, in an email from Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Lisa Teesch-Maguire.
     “Defense counsel recently obtained an email sent by the prosecution, via Deputy District Attorney Lisa Teesch-Maguire, to the victim-witnesses in the case on May 8, 2014. A copy of this email is attached as Exhibit A,” the motion states. “This email contains significant factual and legal misrepresentation, clearly discourages victim-witnesses from speaking with the defense, and constitutes a serious violation of several legal and ethical rules.”
     The defense claims that although Teesch-Maguire emailed it to herself and that it does not show other recipients, the content of the message provides evidence that it was sent to victims of the shooting and their family members.
     “At the outset, it is important to note that while Ms. Teesch-Maguire sent the email to herself and blind carbon copied the email to other recipients, it is reasonable to presume based on the nature and content of the email that the recipients include everyone from Theaters 8 and 9, and associated relatives of the victims – a group well in excess of 800 people. The overwhelming majority of these individuals are not only witnesses for the penalty phase by virtue of being victims, but are also fact witnesses and in many cases, eyewitnesses, to the shooting. As explained in Section II of this pleading, Mr. Holmes has a constitutional right, and defense counsel have a constitutional duty, to investigate this case and attempt to interview these individuals in preparation for the trial, and the law prohibits the prosecution from interfering with the defense’s investigation of this case.
     “The email has the subject heading ‘Important Information – Please Read This Entire Email When you Have Time.’ The title of this email alone is misleading. A victim-witness receiving this email would think that it contained important information about the status of the case or case settings, when in fact the email contains no information about the case, just false information that encourages victim-witnesses not to speak with the defense or its victim liaison.
     “The email begins by asking the recipients to read the entire email, stating ‘I appreciate your help.’ Again, as explained below, the email encourages them not to speak with the defense of the defense’s victim liaison, thanks them for their ‘help’ in this matter of not speaking with the defense, and asks with emphasis that they ‘CALL’ with any questions or concerns.
     “The email next apparently included a photograph of Ms. Teesch-Maguire and states that ‘if anyone tries to meet with you and say that they are Lisa – hopefully they look something like this attached picture.’ The implication is that members of the defense team or others affiliated with the defense may be impersonating Ms. Teesch-Maguire when attempting to contact victims, which is emphatically untrue. The implication that dishonest tactics are being used by the defense has no merit whatsoever and improperly impugns the integrity of defense counsel. No one affiliated with the defense has ever attempted to impersonate Ms. Teesch-Maguire, nor have they been misleading in any other way about their identities when approaching victims or witnesses in this case.”
     The defense seeks sanctions against the prosecution and wants prosecutors ordered to stop interfering with victims.
     Arapahoe County Judge Carlos Samour has not issued a ruling on this motion.
     Jury selection for the trial is expected to begin in the fall.

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