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Contentious legal battle continues over access to limo in deadly Schoharie crash

January 17, 2019 05:34 PM

SCHOHARIE - The legal battle over access to the stretch limousine involved in the deadly October 2018 crash in Schoharie continues. Twenty people were killed.

The NTSB is demanding a judge intervene to let them conduct their investigation. It claims the district attorney is holding them up and potentially interfering with evidence.

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The limo – which sits under a white tarp at New York State Police Headquarters in Latham – is the center of all this publicly played out legal tension.

NewsChannel 13 is learning more about a heated conference call on Friday night involving the NTSB, Schoharie County District Attorney and the defense attorney representing the operator of the limo company charged in the case. There are reports the district attorney hung up just 45 minutes in.

A letter from Susan Mallery to Schoharie County Court Judge George Bartlett says she doesn't oppose the NTSB getting additional access once her investigation is complete -- which is soon, but with restrictions.

Despite the district attorney abruptly ending the call 45-minutes in Friday night, according to the NTSB and Defense Attorney Lee Kindlon, he says they made a lot of progress Friday night and he believes the NTSB will gain access to the vehicle very soon.

A judge is reviewing letters from all sides and will decide whether to add the NTSB to the original search warrant.

The district attorney told the judge in a letter Wednesday that her proposed solution allows the NTSB under state police supervision to inspect the limo, photograph it and measure it without altering, removing or destroying the evidence.

Kindlon agrees with the proposal, adding it’s in line with a general schedule that all involved hammered out Friday night.

"We were just sending emails about this [Wednesday]. I think as soon as we get the word "go" from the judge, we are all kind of ready to get there at a moment's notice. So depending on what the judge decides and when, it could be within a week or two of that -- and I would imagine the judge has an interest in making sure this thing is done pretty quickly," said Kindlon.

The clerk in the Schoharie County Courthouse says to check back in Friday for a possible update.

The district attorney in her letter says the people’s job is to seek justice and the families of the 20 victims deserve a fair trial without politics, she says, seemingly, are of much greater concern.

NewsChannel 13 reached out to the NTSB. As of late Thursday afternoon, we hadn’t heard back from them.

Credits

Jill Konopka

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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