Attorneys for Alexandria Public Safety Director Charles T. Strobel have subpoenaed Mayor Charles E. Beatley and City Council member Donald C. Casey to give pretrial depositions next week in connection with Strobel's libel suit against six persons.
Strobel himself is due to be summoned to give a deposition in a related suit against him, according to attorneys for a plaintiff in that suit.
Beatley and Casey, who are not defendants in Strobel's suit, said they received the subpoenas and will show up for the depositions. "Well, I get these all the time," Beatley said. "It doesn't tell me very much."
The two Democrats have criticized Strobel's management of the Public Safety Department and both favored a proposal for a council-run inquiry of allegations that Strobel mishandled a 1984 drug investigation.
The council decided against conducting the inquiry, and a special city grand jury reported Feb. 27 that there was no evidence to support the allegations.
Two days later Strobel filed a $1.4 million libel suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria against two former city police officers, as well as two police officers still on the force, the attorney representing all four of them, and the reporter who first wrote about the drug case allegations in the Alexandria Port Packet.
Strobel charges that the six conspired to spread "a packet of false, scandalous, malicious and defamatory rumors" about him. A response to the suit is pending.
Strobel's suit was in response to a suit filed Jan. 30 in the same court against him and the City of Alexandria by police officers Joseph Morrash and Morton Ford and former police detective Charles Cox. The three, who seek $700,000 in damages, alleged Strobel and the city had violated their civil rights and accused Strobel of "abuse of office." Strobel has denied the allegations in papers filed with the court.
U.S. Magistrate W. Harris Grimsley yesterday ordered lawyers for Morrash, Cox and Ford to turn over to Strobel's lawyers tape recordings made by Morrash of two conversations the officers had last fall.
One of the tapes records a conversation between Morrash, Ford, Cox, their attorney Mary Craig, and Port Packet reporter Alicia Mundy on Nov. 12. Those five, along with former police officer Louis Pugh, are defendants in Strobel's suit.
Grimsley said that tape should be given to Strobel's counsel "for the simple reason that the third party in the conversation was a reporter who subsequently broke the story" in the Port Packet.
Attorneys for Mundy confirmed yesterday they will take a deposition from Strobel a week from next Monday.
The two court cases are expected to come to trial a few days after the City Council election May 7.