The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site is a compendium of information about the Jeffrey MacDonald case. MacDonald was convicted in 1979 of the murders of his pregnant wife and two small daughters. He is serving three life sentences for that brutal crime.


The Murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald
 

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site

August 20, 1979: Motion to Dismiss the Indictment for Failure
to Disclose Brady Materials to the Defendant

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, plaintiff

:

 

VS.

:

        CASE No. 75-26-CR-3

JEFFREY R. MACDONALD, defendant

:

 

 

TO THE HONORABLE FRANKLIN T. DUPREE, JR., JUDGE OF SAID COURT:.

The Defendant, JEFFREY R. MACDONALD, by his attorneys, moves to dismiss the indictment against him for the following reasons:

1. The Defendant has repeatedly asked the Government, since April 1975, for the disclosure of materials which are or which may be exculpatory of him in the above-captioned case. On August 6, 1979, near the conclusion of the government's case, the Defendant renewed his request for materials which he is entitled to under the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland. A copy of that demand, which was filed with the Clerk of the Court, is attached hereto and incorporated by reference.

2. The Government has failed, refused and neglected to provide the Defendant with the materials to which he is entitled under Brady. The Government has not answered directly or indirectly the Defendant's request. The Government has not denied that it has Brady materials to which the Defendant is entitled.

3. Among the Brady materials which the Government has but which have not been provided to the Defendant are the following:

    (a) The statements of Robert and Vivian Stevenson, taken in early February 1971, by CID investigators. Robert Stevenson was the brother-in-law of the Defendant. He and his wife were interviewed by the CID concerning the nature of the relationship between the Defendant and his wife Colette; they gave other information to the Government concerning the conduct of the Defendant, his wife and family; the Defendant believes they gave derogatory information about Mildred Kassab, a Government witness in this trial, and that such statements are or may be exculpatory evidence.

    (b) The statements of John Hodges, a CID investigator who on February 17, I8 and 19, 1970 was present at the time that the Defendant was interviewed by FBI agent Robert H. Caverly at Womack Army Hospital. The Defendant believes that Agent Hodges made notes of that interview and that the Defendant further believes that those notes may be supportive of a different version of the interview, than that to which Agent Caverly has testified to at this trial, and that such statements are or may be exculpatory evidence. The Defendant has been informed and therefore avers that CID agents in 1970 were required to make records of such events in their "CID Case Progress File" as well as other memoranda of such interviews.

    (c) The statements or memorandum reports of Special Agent Crawford Williams of the FBI, who participated in and/or was present at the time the Defendant was interviewed on February 18 and/or February 19, 1970. The Defendant believes that those reports may be supportive of a different version of the interview than that which has been testified to by Agent Caverly.

    (d) The statement of Dr. Robert L. Sadoff, taken by Government attorneys and/or FBI agents in January, 1975 at his home in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Dr. Sadoff was ill at the time of that interview. He has previously filed an affidavit with this Court in 1975 in which he stated that because of his illness he did not have a clear or complete recollection of what he was asked and what he stated at that time. The Government has stated to this Court, at a bench conference, that this was a "statement and not grand jury testimony since Dr. Sadoff never appeared before the Grand Jury." Dr. Sadoff was a witness who gave favorable testimony on behalf of the Defendant at the 1970 military proceedings in this case. The Defendant believes that the statement given to the Government in January 1975 contains material that is favorable to him and that it is or may be exculpatory of him.

    (e) The statements of Alfred Kassab that have been given to the CID, FBI and other Government investigators from 1970 through 1979. Mr. Kassab gave favorable testimony on behalf of the Defendant at the 1970 military proceedings in this case. Although it is well known that Mr. Kassab subsequently turned against the Defendant, nevertheless the Defendant believes that even in his present state of mind that Kassab, in reciting facts about the relationship between the Defendant and Colette MacDonald and their children has made statements that are favorable to him and that are or may be exculpatory. The Defendant also avers that Kassab has turned over to the Government copies of letters and cards written by the Defendant to Kassab and Mildred Kassab that are or may be exculpatory of the Defendant because they are evidence of a state of mind that is wholly inconsistent with the murder of the Defendant's wife and children. The Defendant also avers that the said Kassab has provided copies to the Government of letters written by Colette MacDonald to her husband, which show the existence of a relationship that is inconsistent with either the Defendant having killed his family, or with Colette MacDonald having stabbed the Defendant. In this latter regard the Court is directed to the argument of the Government in opposition to the Defendant's motion for a directed verdict, in which Government counsel stated that the Defendant may have been stabbed by his wife Colette. The Defendant also avers that the said Kassab has provided to the Government copies of numerous electronically recorded telephone conversations between them, and that the said conversations may or are, in whole -- or in part, be exculpatory of the Defendant.

    (f) The Government provided the Defendant on July 13, 1979, with a list of 116 persons who were potential Government witnesses in this case. Based upon investigation by the Defendant it appears that the addresses for the following named persons are incorrect because investigation fails to reveal the existence or presence of these persons at the addresses provided for:

Kenneth Beasley

Darrell Jack Bennett

John Caldwell

Carolyn Goldman

Tom Hagney

James A. King

Robert D. Olsen

Julian J. Ossman

James W. Paulsen

Myron R. Pickering

Willard A. Spessert

    (g) The Government has failed, refused and neglected to provide the Defendant with the statements and reports of eighty-eight (88) persons whose names were contained on the pretrial list of potential Government witnesses filed with the Court by the Government. The Defendant has reason to believe that (1) by virtue of the fact that the Government did not choose to call these witnesses, (2) that by virtue of the fact that the Government has so vigorously resisted disclosing the statements and reports of these witnesses, and (3) by virtue of some facts learned extrinsically by the Defendant about some of the witnesses, that these statements may or do contain exculpatory material for the Defendant. If the Court believes that a further showing is necessary in this regard, the Defendant asks leaves to orally supplement this motion at the time that it is heard.

4. The Defendant is well into the presentation of his defense in this case. The failure of the Government to have provided him with the foregoing materials substantially prejudices the Defendant and contravenes the express dictates of the Supreme Court in Brady v. Maryland. The appropriate relief for the conduct of the Government is the forthwith dismissal of the indictment against the Defendant. WHEREFORE, the Defendant prays that the Court forthwith dismiss the indictment against the Defendant and/or grant such other relief as shall appear to be appropriate.

Dated: August 20, 1979

Respectfully submitted,


BERNARD L. SEGAL
Attorney for Defendant
JEFFREY R. MACDONALD

and with him

WADE M. SMITH
 

 

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