The perjury trial of Alexandria Police Chief Charles T. Strobel opens today before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams in Alexandria.
Strobel, 48, is accused of lying to a federal grand jury when asked how he handled reports, allegedly brought to him during the 1970s, concerning alleged sexual misconduct by three police officers, including their alleged involvement with a prostitute.
The 12-count indictment returned Feb. 20 contends Strobel lied by testifying he did not remember receiving some of the reports and by denying he stopped investigations into some of them.
For each instance of alleged perjury, Strobel is charged with obstruction of justice. The chief has denied the charges. He is expected to take the stand in his own defense, said his attorney, Plato Cacheris.
Strobel appeared last fall before a grand jury that "was engaged in a multifaceted investigation of corruption by high ranking officials within the Alexandria Police Department," according to a brief filed yesterday by prosecutors.
The court paper argued that it was important for the grand jury to determine "whether [Strobel] had quashed investigations in the 1970s and, if so, why he had done so" because this was relevant "to the issue of whether [he] had purposefully stopped a promising narcotics investigation involving Alexandria Sheriff Michael Norris in 1984."
A special state grand jury cleared Strobel last year of any wrongdoing in connection with allegations, first reported in The Alexandria Port Packet, that he had stopped a cocaine investigation at a local restaurant after Norris' name surfaced on an informant's tape recording.
The brief filed yesterday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Williams hinted at some matters that could surface during Strobel's trial. For example, the brief said a prostitute was apparently involved with "other prostitutes servicing the players of large stake poker games attended by organized crime figures."
The chairman of the Strobel Legal Defense Fund declined yesterday to say how much the group had raised so far, but said it had not reached its target of $35,000. "It's somewhat less than we anticipated," said C.C. Brock.