This is Part 2 of Rockford attorney John Nelson’s testimony in the Zane Seipler wrongful termination case against Sheriff Keith Nygren, et al.
It is from the santions motion part of the trial before Judge Frederick Kapala.
“Your question involves the essence for her [Rose Seipler’s] visiting me for the second time,” Nelson replied.
“There were consequences to signing an affidavit for use in her husband’s case with regard to posting privileged materials in this case on the internet where there was some court restriction,” Nelson testified.
“Certainly there was not only tension, but there was a legal conflict [and] marital [conflict].
“The legal conflict was Mrs. Seipler needed legal representation to represent her interests.”
“Did you know of the allegations of perjury [in the James Sotos motion for sanctions (see below)]?” Horwitz asked.
“I did not know that,” Nelson relied.
“If I had gone and spoken to Mrs. Seipler and asked her everything that happened and she developed that and I had presented that [information] to the court [as Sotos had argued earlier in the day that Horwitz should have]?”
“The ethical problems always come after the fact,” Nelson commented.
“[You would have3] placed her in legal jeopardy.”
“What would you tell her?” Horwitz asked.
“I would have told her you shouldn’t have done that. We would be a position to attack any [use of information in any further proceeding. That would be the danger,” was Nelson’s reply.
An objection was made with regard to relevancy.
Judge Kapala dismissed the objection:
“The question has been raised why he didn’t investigate this [whether Rose put the secret documents on the internet]. I think he’s trying to explain why he didn’t do it.
“I will allow the witness to continue to testify.”
Nelson continued: “I certainly would have written a letter to the ARDC [Attorney’s Registration and Disciplinary Commission].
“You and I might also have had a talk.”
Another objection interrupted the proceedings to which Judge Kapala asked that “a firmer context” be laid out.
And another objection to Mrs. Seipler, a future witness, being in the courtroom was sustained:
“I agree she shouldn’t be here while you [lay out] your theory of the case.”
“I understand the issue,” Horwitz said.
Rose and her current attorney Dennis Giovannnini then left the room.
The objected to question was then read by the court reporter. I caught only a snippet about “Did you put this up on the internet?” [From the context below, I believe Horwitz was quoting what he heard Zane say to his wife over the phone during the two’s heated August conversation.]
Horwitz then laid the following out hypothetical situation:
“A couple of months before Mrs. Seipler came to you for the second time (in August), she overhears this and says, ‘I did it. I put the stuff up over the internet.'”She speaks to me and says she’ll testify and wants to get a lawyer. She’s upset, emotional.
“Then a motion for sanctions is filed with [asking for] dismissal and referral to the Federal prosecutor [for criminal charges].
“Should I have inquired, ‘What happened?'”
“Anytime you have the possibility of Federal criminal exposure all you can do is suggest counsel.
“She needed to be advised by an attorney.”
“Did I have her duty [best interest] at heart?” Horwitz continued.
“No, you could not do justice for your client by having any interest in her interests.”
An objection was made to the hypothetical.
“These are things you can bring up on cross,” Judge Kapala replied.
“You certainly had the obligation to tell Ms. Seipler to get an attorney, [to] tell her you were not going to talk to her, to get a lawyer,” Nelson continued.
“I think the rules encompass that lawyers do the right thing.
“It would be improper to take advantage to advance your own case,” Nelson said.
Horwitz moved onto the subject of spousal immunity.
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Articles explaining the dueling sanctions motions:
- Sheriff Seeks Sanctions for Privacy Violations, While Violating Privacy Order or “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 1
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 2
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 3
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 4
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 5
- Point, Counter Point – Sotos, Horwitz Both Request Sanctions – Part 6
Links to the articles containing the entire 10,000+ word transcript from December 15th, mainly about Sheriff Deputy Scott Milliman’s deposition, can be found at the links below: