Buncombe DA, auditing manager file statements in APD evidence-room audit case

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DA: Audit’s release would ‘jeopardize ongoing or future criminal investigations’

Pictures shared by Blueline Systems & Services Manager Mike Wright at the July Asheville City Council meeting showed some of the storage and filing conditions of evidence in the Asheville Police Department’s old evidence room. Katie Bailey/Carolina Public Press

Both Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore and Blueline Systems & Services Manager Mike Wright have filed sworn statements in a pending lawsuit seeking the release of a contested Asheville Police Department’s evidence-room audit.

The affidavits, released today, both offer arguments about when and how the audit should be released. Moore’s office is named as a defendant in the suit, which was filed in June by Carolina Public Press, the Asheville Citizen-Times, Mountain Xpress, WCQS and WLOS after repeated public records requests for the report were either refused or ignored. The city of Asheville, which is also named in the suit, commissioned the study after it was discovered that guns, drugs and money were missing from the evidence room.

Wright’s statement reads, in part: “As Blueline interprets its Service Contract with the City, the City can receive a copy of the inventory report only after the District Attorney for the 28th Prosecutorial District finishes reviewing the report (which has approximately 15 volumes which range in thickness from 1 to 3 inches each) and makes redactions which, in his sole judgment, he deems necessary and proper to prevent the disclosure of information in the report from jeopardizing criminal investigations or prosecutions. … The District Attorney has not yet informed Blueline that he has finished reviewing the inventory report or that he has determined whether any information in the report can be disclosed to the City without jeopardizing criminal investigations or prosecutions.”

Moore also said, in part: “At this time, I have determined that the release of the report or any portions of it to the City would likely jeopardize one or more criminal prosecutions; undermine ongoing or future criminal investigations; and create publicity, which might prevent a Defendant from receiving a fair trial. … Public disclosure of this report or any part of it before I have had the opportunity to finish determining which portions may be released to the City and when and upon which conditions will in my opinion jeopardize ongoing or future criminal investigations and prosecutions.”

Both documents may be read in their entirety below. The case is scheduled to be heard Tuesday in Buncombe County Superior Court.


Special Report

Go here for more of Carolina Public Press’ investigation into the Asheville Police Department’s evidence room.

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About the Author

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the founder, director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 279-0949 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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