Terry Ryan (Courtroom sketch by William J. Hennessy Jr.)
The chief counsel for the D.C. Police Department recanted testimony Thursday he had previously given in an ongoing obstruction of justice investigation.
Terry Ryan told the court he can't remember key details of a 2011 meeting with the chief of police -- a meeting called to discuss possible evidence tampering in the 2002 arrests of hundreds of people in Pershing Park.
Ryan took the stand and testified he does not remember being ordered by D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier to tell a federal judge what the department knew about the attempted deletion of a police computer file.
The department was under court order to produce the file, but Ryan said Thursday he doesn't remember getting the order and he never told the court.
Ryan admitted the May 3, 2011 meeting with Chief Lanier and Assistant Chief Mike Anzallo, the head of internal affairs, was extremely important because the three were going to discuss possible criminal activity within the D.C. Police Department.
The three knew an information technology specialist had found evidence someone tried to delete from a police computer what is known as the "running resume."
It is a document at the center of an ongoing civil suit and a federal obstruction of justice investigation being conducted by Magistrate Judge John Facciola.
Under questioning from attorney Jonathan Turley, Ryan said he had a vague recollection internal affairs would not be conducting its own investigation of the attempted deletion of the file, but cannot recall anything else.
In a deposition with the court, Assistant Chief Anzallo says Ryan was ordered by Chief Lanier to tell Judge Facciola about the evidence tampering, but Ryan admitted he did not.
Ryan admitted he could have forgotten a direct order from the chief.
But when Turley asked if Ryan had ever done that before, the chief counsel replied, "I don't think so."
"It's a soap opera that just doesn't end," said Kristopher Baumann with the Fraternal Order of Police. "And every time a District witness gets on the stand, it just looks worse and worse for them."
Baumann has been closely watching this case for years and notes it has cost District taxpayers millions of dollars.
"The numbers are astronomical," said Baumann. "There are six, seven attorneys sitting in there that D.C. taxpayers are paying for because of the misdeeds of a group of high-ranking individuals who have not been held accountable for anything they have done."
After his previous testimony in November, Ryan retained his own criminal defense attorneys and admitted in court he has not been disciplined for any of his actions in the litigation of the arrests in Pershing Park.
The plaintiffs in the civil case have asked Judge Facciola if they can call Chief Lanier to the stand and question her about the 2011 meeting Ryan says he doesn't remember much about. As of Thursday, the judge has not ruled.