D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan took the stand Wednesday in a federal obstruction of justice investigation telling the court his office has done "nothing wrong".
Nathan was the final and highest ranking witness in an on-going legal battle over the District’s handling of evidence in the illegal arrests of hundreds of people in Pershing Park back in 2002.
The obstruction of justice investigation, now in its third year, is trying to get to the bottom of claims lawyers in the office of the attorney general filed false documents with the court and were repeatedly less than ethical in the handling of evidence in the case.
Claims Attorney General Nathan said were false.
For the last ten years and counting Jonathan Turley and an office of lawyers have been digging and digging and digging into a case that has had more twists and turns than a grand prix race.
Through a federal court lawsuit filed on behalf of people wrongly arrested in Pershing Park in September of 2002 Turley and others have tried to learn who edited tapes of the police radio traffic that day and disposed of video footage shot by police.
But at the center of the dispute has been a police document called the "running resume" which was missing for years and contained crucial information about what happened that day.
There is also evidence someone tried to delete it from a police database but it took more than two months before anyone in the attorney generals office notified the court.
Nathan told the judge Chief Cathy Lanier told him there would be an investigation into the attempted deletion which contradicts the chief’s testimony from last month.
On the stand, Irvan Nathan said he had no regrets with the way it was handled.
"What I said is I testified fully and completely, voluntarily about all of the aspects of the Chang case and I am confident the court will reach a reasoned and accurate decision about this matter”, said Nathan in a brief interview outside the federal courthouse, “I think our lawyers have acted ethically and responsibly in this matter during the time i have been the attorney general including Terry Ryan".
Terry Ryan is the chief counsel for the D.C. Police department and has been at the center of the misconduct allegations along with other lawyers working for the attorney general.
"Well, we were surprised by his testimony but much of this case has surprised us", said plaintiffs’ attorney Jonathan Turley.
Turley and his team of lawyers will now put what they believe to be the facts of the case in writing and get them to magistrate Judge John Facciola by early July.
"We are happy that Judge Facciola will now have the entire record including Mr. Nathan’s testimony before him and it will be up to judge Facciola to determine whether the office of attorney general and even the attorney general himself acted appropriately in this matter", said Tturley.
Nathan told the court there was no evidence of a crime and he feels the civil case should now move forward on the merits.
Judge Facciola was appointed what’s called the "special master" in this case and told by federal Judge Emmet Sullivan to get to the bottom of the allegations.
Judge Facciola said from the very beginning this could ultimately be a criminal matter and it will now be up to him where the case goes next.
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