Commonwealth's Attorney William L. Cowhig instructed an Alexandria bingo operator to destroy a ledger book of alleged bribery payments to Cowhig and told him to say "nothing" to officials probing Cowhig's links to illegal bingo operations, according to court papers filed yesterday.
Cowhig also allegedly boasted that special prosecutor Edward J. White "is my man" at the same time White was launching the extensive investigation that led to Cowhig's indictment on charges of bribery and gambling, the papers said.
Cowhig's statements came as he assured Dirgham Salahi, director of the Montessori School of Alexandria Inc., that Salahi, a bingo operator, had nothing to fear from White, according to the court documents.
White filed the papers in Alexandria Circuit Court to comply with defense requests for specifics about the indictment.
According to the indictment, Cowhig asked for and received $32,000 in bribes from Salahi at the rate of about $500 a week from Jan. 4, 1977, to May 1978 in return for the exercise of his "judicial discretion." The money allegedly came from proceeds of the school's bingo games.
The 50 pages of documents filed by White yesterday help complete the picture of the case White will present Tuesday when Cowhig's trial is scheduled to start.
According to the prosecution, the alleged bribe money was to be paid to Cowhig as if it were Salahi's contribution to a nonprofit aviation club for teenagers to be formed by Cowhig.
But the Ascension Aviation CLub, which Cowhig and his long-time personal assistant Mary Ann (Sam) Pastorek incorporated in March, did not exist during most of the period when Cowhig allegedly was receiving the funds, the papers state.
Cowhig purchased an airplane for $12,000 in 1977 but sold it shortly afterward and told Salahi at the same time that the club had never existed, the prosecution contended.
"I'll do anything you want, you can form groups to operate bingo seven nights a week; I can form my own church and you can do anything you want," Cowhig was quoted in the papers as telling Salahi.
The prosecution alleged that Cowhig told Salahi in May 1977 "I am opening my own bingo" game but assured Salahi that he would help run the games behind the scenes and make sure they did not interfere with the Montessori bingo profits.
Cowhig also allegedly offered to take care of a traffic ticket received by Salahi's wife, Corinne, and once asked Salahi to employ Cowhig's son at Salahi's bingo games, according to the papers.
Salahi has been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony at next week's trial. Attorneys for Cowhig could not be reached yesterday for comment on the prosecution's latest allegations.
An audit of Cowhig's bank statements by Virginia state police investigator Coy Ivy showed that the total deposits Cowhig made to a bank account from Dec. 12, 1977, to last June 2 exceeded his salary as commonwealth attorney by $8,987.62, according to yesterday's filing. Cowhig deposited more money than he earned in his state job on 14 of 17 occasions, according to a handwritten note made by Ivy one audit sheet.
Ivy also determined that Cowhig's bank accounts were overdrawn on "five statement periods" from 1976 to 1978, usually by as much as $1,000 per period, and had less than $100 in them in other periods.
Among documents White plans to introduce are Alexandria National Bank deposit tickets entitled "Two Turtles Account." Two Turtles is the name of a resort hotel Cowhig and his family own in the Bahamas.
Defense attorneys are expected to file their list of trial witnesses today, as well as their rebuttal of White's charges.