Feds want 'black binder' left in car of Lakin cooperating witness

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 22, 2008, 11:26am

Tom Lakin (left) and his attorney Scott Rosenblum

Federal prosecutor Steve Clark wants to know the contents of a black binder that Tom Lakin left behind in the car of a witness working with the government.

Clark filed a motion to inspect the binder July 21 with U.S. District J. Phil Gilbert who presides over the case.

Lakin faces 18 sex and drug charges related to cocaine possession and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes. He is scheduled to appear before Gilbert at 2 p.m. on July 31 for a status conference.

According to Clark, Lakin left documents in the vehicle of an acquaintance who was cooperating with the government's investigation in late 2006.

Clark claims the documents contain:

  • Biographical information on Tom Lakin;

  • Summaries of events and individuals possibly related to the Lakin case, including family history of a juvenile who may be subject of Lakin's indictment, and others; and

  • A 2005 vacation in Malibu, Calif.

    Lakin had owned a home in Malibu. He is accused of transporting a minor to Malibu for sexual purposes.

    Clark claims that after Lakin left the binder in the car, the cooperating individual (CI) gave the binder to his attorney who worked at a St. Louis law firm. That attorney called Clark to inform him that Lakin left the documents behind.

    According to Clark, the CI told Lakin the documents had been left behind, but Lakin never attempted to retrieve the binder.

    In his motion, Clark says he asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Kapsak in January to serve as a "taint attorney" to review the documents and to determine whether they might contain matter protected by attorney-client privilege.

    Clark claims Kapsak obtained the binder and its contents directly from the CI's lawyer and that he will submit a copy of the binder's contents separately and under seal, for in camera review.

    "No member of the prosecution team has reviewed the binder's contents," Clark wrote in the motion.

    The CI also filed an affidavit under seal.

    According to Clark, the CI's affidavit states that Lakin borrowed the CI's vehicle in late 2006, and upon returning the vehicle the next day, he left behind a black binder.

    Clark claims a copy of the binder's contents was turned over to Lakin's defense team on Feb. 7, but Lakin's lawyers have not filed a motion for a protective order.

    He asks Gilbert for an order authorizing the prosecution team to review the contents of the binder for evaluation as to the evidentiary value of the contents at trial or sentencing.

    Clark argues that although the black binder's contents may contain matters protected by attorney client privilege, that privilege has been waived by Lakin who allowed the contents to fall into the hands of a third party.

    "Lakin, a seasoned attorney, should have been aware of the law with respect to waiver of the attorney-client privilege and should have zealously guarded that privilege if he wanted the documents protected," Clark wrote.

    "Instead, Lakin not only carelessly left the documents in his acquaintance's vehicle, but he never bothered to retrieve them from his acquaintance once notified of their whereabouts."

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