DENVER (AP) – Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes made serious allegations against prosecutors on Monday, accusing them of interfering with the defense investigation and of waiting nearly a year to turn over evidence.
Defense lawyers alleged that prosecutors and law-enforcement officers have told witnesses that if they spoke to the defense team, their words would be manipulated or their meanings twisted.
The defense also implied that prosecutors had urged witnesses not to speak to the defense and asked witnesses to “surreptitiously report back to law enforcement” on any discussions they have with the defense team.
Prosecutors didn’t immediately file a response, and a spokeswoman declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case.
Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 at a suburban Denver theater in July 2012. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The defense asked Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. to sanction prosecutors for the alleged interference and delays.
Holmes’ lawyers accused prosecutors of waiting until last month to give them some FBI material generated as long ago as the day of the shootings, July 20, 2012.
They said the material was on a thumb drive they received from prosecutors last month containing “thousands and thousands of pages” from the FBI.
They said the material included reports, expert opinions, laboratory files, notes, video interviews and more.
They complained the new information is incomplete and said that throughout the case, prosecutors have given them disorganized and repetitive material.
Defense lawyers said the allegedly late evidence will make it impossible for them to be ready for trial by Feb. 3, the scheduled start date. They didn’t specifically ask for a delay, however.
Both sides have said the evidence in the case totals about 48,000 pages.
Earlier Monday, Samour upheld a state law used to charge Holmes, the second such ruling in a week.
In the latest ruling, Samour said the law defining attempted murder with extreme indifference is constitutional.
Holmes’ lawyers had argued the charge is unconstitutional, saying it’s the same as assault with extreme indifference but carries harsher penalties.
Last week, the judge upheld a similar law defining murder with extreme indifference.
In addition to 24 counts of murder, he’s charged with 70 counts of attempted murder with extreme indifference and 70 counts of attempted murder with deliberation.
– By Dan Elliott, AP Writer
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