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Intimidation of witnesses a focus in McVey case

Updated: Tuesday, September 2 2014, 11:53 AM EDT
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- A motions hearing was held Monday morning for suspended Superintendent of Steubenville City Schools Mike McVey.
McVey is one of six people indicted case last November by a special grand jury investigating the Steubenville teen rape.
He is facing multiple charges, including three felonies for tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.

The motions were not out of the ordinary, but one thing did stand out. About halfway through the hearing, both sides raising concern about witness harassment or intimidation becoming an issue as McVey's case goes to trial.
McVey sat mostly silent in court. His attorney and the prosecutor did all the talking, as Judge Patricia Cosgrove considered four separate motions.
In the end, only one motion was granted Monday -- the motion to compel a bill of particulars. In other words, offering of additional details to the defense in order to reveal what exactly McVey allegedly did.
“Given the fact that we're facing discovery, which to date that is 92 gigabytes of discovery, I think there's a special need for a bill of particulars, so I'm going to order the state to get that within the next 20 days to defendant’s council,” Cosgrove said.
There were some sticking points on the other three motions, including the defendant’s request to disclose names of grand jury witnesses and two motions related to transcribing the grand jury proceedings prior to trial.
The defense maintained that the transcripts would be for the attorney's eyes only and would only be used if necessary to make sure witness testimony does not change from grand jury to trial.
The state argued that the reason for the request was not specific enough and pointed out that the defense already has audio recordings and written witness testimony.
“The expense involved in transcribing all of these statements just on the off chance they might testify inconsistently, that's a precedent that would be frightening frankly to set,” Prosecutor Angela Canepa said.
Perhaps the most significant piece out of Monday's proceedings was that both sides alluded to possible intimidation of witnesses.
“There were statements made that you're either with us or you're against us,” Canepa said. “And there was pressure applied to not cooperate. That is certainly the state’s allegations and has been since Day 1.”
Whether witness intimidation did in fact take place, will all become clearer as this case moves forward.
“We have information that about coercion of witness, that will be an issue at this trial. It's going to be an issue that the state is going to have to confront,” Defense Attorney Charles Bean said.
There's no word on when the judge will come down with her final ruling on the remaining motions.
McVey's final preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 14. The trial date tentatively is set for Aug. 18.

Intimidation of witnesses a focus in McVey case

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