Judge agrees to release Carmel grand jury testimony
Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News
Carmel - A Hamilton County judge granted a request Wednesday to release otherwise confidential grand jury testimony in the Carmel basketball assault case. But the decision comes with serious limitations.
Grand jury testimony of 31 witnesses given at the Hamilton County Courthouse in May will be made available only to the lawyers involved, their four clients and the witnesses who testified, but no one else.
When asked if he was pleased that the judge released the documents, Jim Crum, attorney for defendant Brandon Hoge, replied, "Well, naturally we're pleased, we filed the motion. But I really don't have any further comment beyond that."
The teenage suspect's lawyers wanted the young men's parents to be able to view the documents, but Hamilton Superior Judge William Hughes denied that request, explaining the defendants are all adults and their parents "are not in a position legally to call the shots."
The testimony will likely include details of what allegedly happened between the four former members of the Carmel basketball team and at least two victims on two separate occassions in November 2009 and January of this year.
Attorneys argued it was critical to have that information in writing.
"Any time any lawyer needs to have all the evidence to be able to review it to prepare for trial," said Mark Sullivan, Oscar Falodun's attorney.
The jury trial for Robert Kitzinger is scheduled for September 16th. His attorney is expected to request a change of venue. The other three former basketball players will have bench trials, meaning that a judge will determine their fates. Their trial dates have not been set.
On Friday, Kitzinger's lawyer requested a gag order in the case, which was granted. It prohibits anyone directly involved from making statements that would influence the outcome of the case.
The judge made it clear Wednesday, however, that statements, for instance about Wednesday's decision to release the grand jury testimony, can be made.