As a part of the discovery process in this lawsuit, my lawyer has deposed State Attorney Angela Corey, scheduled for next week, and apparently a motion was filed on her behalf recently in an attempt to keep her from having to give her testimony. The information about the "inadvertant destruction" of documents in this case was revealed when Stephen Seigel was deposed in May, and apparently this information was revealed in my lawyer's response to Corey's motion. Thus, it's in the paper this morning.
Here's the article:
Headline and link: "OOPS!! State Attorney's Office inadvertently destroys subpoenas related to First Baptist blogger."
The article from the newspaper:
"The State Attorney's Office disclosed it inadvertently destroyed investigative subpoena requests and copies of subpoenas related to a formerly anonymous blogger who was critical of leadership at Jacksonville's First Baptist Church.I have sat in on every deposition given thus far in the case over the past 2 months (over 20), and there are more scheduled. The discovery process is still on-going, and probably will continue through July.
According to a federal court motion filed on behalf of State Attorney Angela Corey, the files were inadvertently destroyed during an office relocation, along with similar documents in other cases from October to December 2008.
The motion, seeking to keep Corey from being deposed, was filed in a lawsuit filed by Tom Rich, who sued authorities and the church after an investigation revealed his identity. A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective who attends First Baptist used subpoenas signed by an assistant state attorney to discern Rich's identity in 2008.
The documents were destroyed when Corey, who took office in 2009, moved the special prosecution division from the Eddie Farah Building on Adams Street into the State Attorney's Office on Bay Street as a cost-saving measure.
Corey was unavailable for comment this afternoon, and Chief Assistant State Attorney Dan McCarthy said he was unaware of the inadvertent destruction. He said he hasn't been directly involved in the Rich litigation.
"There's been no issue that I'm aware of that's arisen out of inadequate files being transferred over from special prosecution," McCarthy said.
Rich's attorney, Mike Roberts, noted in a response filed this afternoon that Assistant State Attorney Stephen Siegel told jacksonville.com after Rich's lawsuit was filed last year that the supoena requests had been destroyed after 90 days according to office policy. Siegel was the prosecutor who signed the supoena requests. Roberts said the detective's files also have been destroyed.
"These are central documents that just don't exist anymore," Roberts said. He said he is contemplating a motion for sanctions for intentional destruction of evidence.
Robert said he was told the filed were being moved and were inadvertently placed in a group of documents that were to be destroyed. "
I am assuming the judge in this case will very soon issue a ruling on the motion to keep Corey from testifying, as Corey's deposition is scheduled for next week. I'll update with any additional news that is put in the newspaper.