After Rose Seipler and her attorney Dennis Giovannini left the courtroom, Rose’s former attorney, John Nelson, continued his testimony in the sanctions part of her husband Zane Seipler’s case.
McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren’s attorneys James Sotos and Elizabeth Ekl are trying to get Federal Judge Frederick Kapala to dismiss Zane’s wrongful termination suit on the grounds that he disobeyed the court order to keep Sheriff’s Department disciplinary records secret.
Previously, Zane had testified that his wife Rose posted them.
The question to which Rose had not objected to former attorney John Nelson’s answering was “What did she tell you?”
“Mrs. Seipler came in and indicated there was an issue in her husband’s case which had to do with the posting of materials that have court restricts,” Nelson explained.
“Her husband was asking her to sign an affidavit to that effect.
“I said I didn’t want to know.
“I told the consequences [and] issues of knowledge of the court order.
“I discussed why it was anyone would do a foolish thing like that.
“At the end of the conversation, I advised her it would be best if she maintained a silence in the matter”
Zane Seipler’s attorney Blake Horwtiz asked why Nelson didn’t want to know whether Rose had posted the material.
Nelson replied that there were “potential problems if she had told me she had done that.”
“Why not ask her to tell the truth?” Horwitz continued.
“My approach is more oriented toward the criminal aspect. I know from personal experience civil lawyers are more intimatedly involved with their clients than criminal attorneys.”
Ekl objected to the second part of Nelson’s answer, pointing out that he had not been qualified as an expert.
Kapala overruled the objection.
“Why?” Horwitz then asked.
“If it were to be that Mrs. Seipler would need my services in the future I did not want to be pinned in.
“What could happen to me and my family if I had done this?” Rose apparently had asked Nelson.
“I attempted to answer as well as I could the potentially worst case scenario.
“I also want[ed] to make sure should it come to pass that she undertook a path that would have legal repercussions by myself or with another attorney.
“She [todl me] I have this problem and this problem and this is the nature of the problem.
“I indicated very early on that I didn’t need to know.
“It seemed to me that she wanted good, sound legal advise. She’s a professional, a registered nurse.
“Your average criminal client [would] have learned that’s the way it is done,” Nelson said, continuing to explain how he handle criminal cases.
“As the conversation unfolded, early on [I figured out what the issue was].
“She was interested in the potential ramifications.
“You don’t need to tell me that you did or did not do it,” Nelson remembered telling Rose.
“We’ll find the issues.
“If she were going to sign an affidavit I would be prepared to prepare it and it would certainly cost her extra money.
“The cornerstone of a state and Federal practice is that your client is presumed not guilty. In the early stages of a criminal case, I don’t necessarily have to know the culpability.
“We live in a fluid world and things can change,” concluded Nelson’s answer.
“[So you said] ‘Stop right there. Don’t tell me anymore,” Horwitz said.
“I would do that because I would like to research spousal immunity.
“The Fifth Amendment privilege is certainly more than ethics,” Nelson asked in response to a question from Horwitz I did not catch, but probably related to Horwitz having advised Rose about self-incrimination at her deposition in this case.
I did write down the follow-up inquiry: “Is it appropriate to say, ‘Stop right there because there might be Fifth Amendment problems?”
“Yes,” Nelson said.
It appears that the Sotos team now got in some questions.
“Her husband wanted her to sign an affidavit?”
“The way I recall it she had been asked to sign an affidavit and she wanted to know the consequences,” Nelson replied.
“If not by her husband, then who?”
“I presume it was the husband or the husband’s interest.”
At this point Judge Kapala asked Horwitz how many more witnesses he had.
Horwitz came up with the following six:
- Dennis Giovannini
- Jim Sotos
- Blake Horwitz
- Rose Seipler
- Zane Seipler
- Scott Milliman
“Obviously we need another day,” the Judge concluded and then asked some questions of his own.
The final installment is tomorrow.
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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: