E-mail, phone records request opposed in Wone wrongful death suit

Robert Wone was found dead in a Northwest D.C. townhouse in August 2006. The three defendants who were charged with conspiring to cover up his death were found not guilty on June 29, 2010. No one has been arrested in his slaying.
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 14, 2010

Attorneys for the three defendants in the Robert E. Wone wrongful death suit are objecting to a request by Wone's widow to see the trio's phone and e-mail records, according to court papers filed this week.

Attorneys for Wone's family filed a request this week with the New York Supreme Court to compel Verizon Communications to release the records of the men -- Joseph R. Price, Victor J. Zaborsky and Dylan M. Ward -- who lived at 1509 Swann St. NW, where Wone was slain Aug. 2, 2006.

Wone, a lawyer who worked as general counsel for Radio Free Asia, was found stabbed to death in the men's home. The men said an unknown intruder came into the townhouse and killed Wone. No one has been charged in the slaying. Price, Zaborsky and Ward were acquitted in June on charges of covering up for the killer and tampering with evidence.

Attorneys for the Wone family are seeking the records from July 1 through Aug. 31, 2006, hoping to illuminate the state of the relationship among the men, whose attorneys said in court were in a three-way, committed relationship. During the criminal trial, prosecutors argued that the relationship between Ward and Price was strained when Wone was killed and that Ward had sought to end the relationship.

In a response filed late Thursday, attorneys for the three men objected to the records request, arguing that it is a violation of their clients' privacy. A previous request for such records was denied last year.

Wone's family, including his widow, Katherine, is suing the three men for $20 million. A status hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10 before D.C. Superior Court Judge Brook Hedge, who can settle the phone and e-mail records dispute at any time.

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