Attorneys for a Las Vegas lawyer and her former police officer boyfriend want a judge to throw out an indictment alleging the couple conspired in a botched arson-murder-suicide scheme that unraveled after the lawyer was found unconscious in her burning home.
In a document filed this week in Clark County District Court, defense attorneys Tom Pitaro and John Momot accuse prosecutors of improperly taking allegations against Nancy Quon and William Ronald Webb Jr. to separate grand juries until one handed up an indictment.
"The state conducted six grand jury sessions in front of two separate grand jury panels with no notice ... as to the nature of the investigation," the lawyers wrote. "All anyone was told was that they were called to give testimony in 'the investigation pertaining to the investigation.'"
Pitaro and Momot also allege that a judge improperly let prosecutors resubmit the case.
In a separate document also filed Wednesday, Pitaro bluntly challenges prosecutors to provide evidence that information about a sweeping federal investigation of Las Vegas-area homeowners associations was leaked to Quon and Webb, and that Quon had support from U.S. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"If this evidence exists, disclose it," Pitaro wrote. "If it does not exist, say so."
Deputy Clark County District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo made the assertions during an Aug. 18 bail hearing, telling Clark County District Judge Michelle Leavitt that Quon decided to set fire to her home Oct. 28, 2010, because she feared she was about to be indicted in a sweeping federal investigation of homeowners association fraud.
Quon, who handled construction defect cases for homeowners associations, believed Reid was going to lose his seat in the November election, and Quon feared she would no longer have access to information about the investigation, DiGiacomo said.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden in Las Vegas denied leaks from his office to Quon. In a strongly worded letter to Clark County District Attorney David Roger, Bogden called the allegation "false and slanderous."
Reid aides were reviewing the court record Friday and did not immediately comment on the assertion that Quon was linked with the senator.
The district attorney is due to file a written response to the Pitaro and Momot motions by Dec. 1. Clark County District Judge Douglas Herndon has scheduled a hearing Jan. 5.
Quon, 51, and Webb, 43, were indicted Aug. 17 on felony charges including arson, conspiracy and insurance fraud. Webb also is accused of conspiring to kill Quon. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Webb, who retired as a Las Vegas police officer in August 2008, was in San Diego when his brother found Quon unconscious on a couch in her burning home. Prosecutors allege the two planned to kill Quon with a lethal dose of a hard-to-detect illegal drug, gamma hydroxybutyrate or GHB, and have Webb collect insurance money, administer their affairs and then commit suicide later.
Police and prosecutors allege that Quon was a target in the homeowners association fraud probe that local and federal agents launched in November 2007. She has not been charged, but eight people have taken plea deals since August, including a southern Nevada political consultant, several homeowners association agents and a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer.
The defendants in that case are accused of conspiring to rig homeowners association elections and using so-called "straw buyers" to buy properties in about a dozen Las Vegas-area communities from about August 2003 through February 2009. Prosecutors allege that co-conspirators won homeowners association board seats and controlled decisions about how homeowners association fees were spent.
The indictment against Quon and Webb alleges that Webb talked after the fire with an unindicted co-conspirator, Robert Justice, 45, and an unnamed undercover Las Vegas police officer about obtaining GHB. It wasn't clear if the drug was to be used for a suicide or in a slaying.
Webb was recorded and videotaped buying the drug Nov. 9 in a parking lot at a Las Vegas-area casino. Police arrested Quon in a room inside the hotel.
By Ken Ritter, Associated Press
Source: The Republic