Giants cornerback Deandre Baker and Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar face serious charges arising from allegations of an armed robbery at a private party. Proving those charges may not be easy for prosecutors.
The affidavit supporting the arrest warrants, as prepared by Detective Mark Moretti, tells the detailed story of a robbery perpetrated by both men, with the names of the witnesses redacted. Some or all of those witnesses apparently have recanted, in affidavits harvested by the lawyers representing the defendants.
At Sunday’s bail hearing, Dunbar’s lawyer reportedly presented five affidavits that came from the same persons who were interviewed by police — four victims and one witness. The prosecutor found it “suspect” that the witnesses changed their tunes so quickly, and that their affidavits spoke directly to Dunbar’s role, or lack thereof, in the alleged crime.
The circumstances justify investigation as to both the harvesting of the witness statements by police and the creation of the affidavits. As a lawyer will ask (or at least imply) when confronting a witness with inconsistent statements, “Were you lying then or are you lying now?”
The witnesses, if lying in the affidavits, could face perjury charges. If they lied to the police, they face potential liability for that. If the police coerced them into lying about Baker and Dunbar, the police face potentially serious problems. If someone induced the witnesses, with rewards or threats, to change their stories, that’s another set of problems — if it can be proven.
These are issues that need to be fully developed as the cases begin to unfold. The dramatic shift in the witness statements didn’t happen randomly or accidentally. Something caused the first version to be false or the second version to be false. In the interests of justice, the statements need to be reconciled.