Bishop's attorneys deny 'playing games' - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Bishop's attorneys deny 'playing games'

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Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2003 10:33 pm | Updated: 1:05 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Attorneys for Bishop Thomas O'Brien, former head of the Roman Cathoic Diocese in Phoenix, denied prosecutors' allegations Tuesday that they were acting in bad faith and "playing games" in the hit-and-run case.

Prosecutors Tony Novitsky and Mitch Rand complained to Judge Stephen Gerst that O'Brien's attorneys are breaking the rules by not providing the Maricopa County Attorney's Office with information produced by their eight listed expert witnesses.

The prosecutors said they are at a disadvantage because the trial, which is in Maricopa County Superior Court, is a month away and not one expert witness has been interviewed, and complicating matters are the fast-approaching holidays.

"I'm not continuing the trial date," said Gerst, who expressed his surprise at how little progress had been made in the case. O'Brien was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident two days after the June 14 death of Jim Reed.

Gerst told the attorneys to work out scheduling the pretrial interviews or he would do it on his own and they wouldn't be happy with the way he does it. Gerst said he doesn't want to hear about witnesses' traveling


"They're going to be here or they're not going to testify," Gerst said. Defense attorney Tom Henze promised that all materials generated by the experts would be given to the prosecutors by Thursday. Gerst has scheduled a hearing for Friday so attorneys can argue about whether certain evidence should be admitted at the Jan. 12 trial.

O'Brien resigned in June after his arrest. In the weeks before the crash, O'Brien had been under intense media scrutiny after signing an immunity agreement to end the investigation of sexual misconduct of priests and employees of the diocese. Reed was hit crossing the street near Glendale and 19th avenues and the car was traced to O'Brien.

The bishop told police he believed someone either threw a rock at his car or he hit a large animal.

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