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Prosecutors resist sharing details of case against Malvo

Sniper suspect's attorneys seek to fight terror charge

Associated Press

September 12, 2003

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FAIRFAX, Va. - Prosecutors in the case against sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo are opposing defense lawyers' demands for a detailed account of the government's theory of the case.

In a court motion released yesterday, prosecutors said that the defense motion was a "fishing expedition" and that Malvo's attorneys have learned much of the government's case during long pretrial hearings.

Malvo "seeks to discover every fact that the Commonwealth may present at trial as well as its theories with respect to all of the evidence," wrote Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond Morrogh, who called the defense team's arguments "feeble at best."

The defense lawyers said they need to know details about the government's case so they can challenge the constitutionality of a terrorism charge against Malvo.

The terrorism charge is based on a Virginia law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, and a conviction carries a potential death penalty. The defense lawyers say that to contest the law's constitutionality, they need to know the government's exact theory about whom the government believes Malvo was trying to terrorize and which governments he was trying to influence.

A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Wednesday.

The judge in the case against fellow suspect John Allen Muhammad has rejected claims that the terrorism law is unconstitutional. It was the first legal ruling issued on the new law.

Malvo, 18, and Muhammad, 42, have been charged with 13 shootings, including 10 deaths, over a three-week span in October in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington. They are also suspected in or charged with shootings in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona and Washington state.

Prosecutors have said the sniper shootings were part of a scheme to extort $10 million from the government.

Muhammad's trial begins Oct. 14; Malvo is set to go on trial Nov. 10.