The attorney for five plaintiffs in the civil suit filed against a former Warren County Republican state lawmaker, claim subpoenas calling them to testify are “a fishing expedition” and “a Hail Mary.”
And by the time criminal trial begins next week for former Rep. Pete Beck, R-Mason, he will face fewer charges, according to the prosecution during arguments made at a hearing Monday morning.
Beck, 62, is accused of defrauding investors in a multimillion securities deal when he was the chief financial officers with Christopher Technologies. He was indicted on 69 charges in two grand jury indictments — one in July 2013 and one in February 2014 — but 15 of the initial 16 charges were canceled by Hamilton County Judge John Andrew West as “duplicative.”
J. Thomas Hodges, the attorney for Thomas Walter, Corey Jordan, Larry Cook, Peter Boland and Robert Prangley, contends in a motion filed earlier this month that the subpoenas are “unreasonable and oppressive” should be quashed, or canceled, because “Ohio law does not allow for the information sought” to be obtained.
He writes that Beck’s attorneys are attempting to use the subpoenas “to acquire written and oral communications regarding numerous subject matters between multiple persons over an unlimited time period.”
“[T]he subpoenas are nothing more than a Hail Mary to try to come up with something that may be favorable,” Hodges wrote in his motion.
This is one of several motions that will be addressed before the trial begins March 23, according to West.
Senior assistant Ohio Attorney General Daniel Kasaris, the lead attorney for the prosecution, said in court Monday that number of charges Beck faces could be reduced further.
“We’re going to make it simpler. It’s a complicated case,” he said after the hearing.
Kasaris told West the amended indictment with fewer charges “will be done early this week.”
Beck’s defense team also has three motions of its own for the judge to consider before the opening arguments begin on Monday for the trial scheduled for four weeks.
Attorneys Ralph Kohnen and Chad Ziepfel contends that any statements made by Beck’s former co-defendants, John Fussner and Janet Combs, and others involved with Christopher Technologies, including Chip DeMois and the late Thomas Lysaght, are inadmissible.
The defense is asking the judge to exclude any statements made by an alleged co-conspirator “unless and until the government proves the existence of a conspiracy by independent evidence” and proves both Beck and alleged co-conspirator “participated in the conspiracy.”
Beck’s defense team also wants to ensure the testimony of Charlene Parsons, the bookkeeper/controller for Christopher Technologies, is included in the trial. Parsons was questioned in a September 20, 2012, hearing, but died on Nov. 1, 2012.
According to the motion filed earlier this month, her testimony “is critical to this case” as the charges against Beck “center largely on his role (or lack thereof) in managing the finances of Christopher Technologies.”
The third defense motion includes the Beck defense team’s motion to dismiss one of the 55 charges he faces: “engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.” Beck’s attorneys claim the government’s burden in a corruption case is to prove Beck and his alleged co-conspirators “operated as a continuing unit with a common purpose of benefiting the enterprise.” According to the motion, the state “has not made, and could not make, such an allegation,” only claiming that numerous people committed crimes in order to financially benefit.
After West hears the motions, and most likely decides on them,the prosecution and defense teams will end Day 1 of the Beck trial with opening arguments.
On Day 2 of the trial, the case will begin to present evidence. Kasaris said he’ll have “about 500 exhibits” to present during the case, which is about 400 fewer than planned. Kohnen said he anticipates “to work with (the state’s) exhibits almost exclusively.”