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Officials say they believe additional evidence tampering offenses occured
By Alex Bridgesfirstname.lastname@example.org
HARRISONBURG -- Federal authorities claim embattled attorney Paul H. Thomson may have tampered with evidence in more than one of his clients' cases, according to documents unsealed Wednesday.
Thomson, 56, of Winchester, is charged in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg with counts of evidence and witness tampering, conspiracy and possession of cocaine. His legal assistant, Nannette S. Boden, 35, also of Winchester, is charged with tampering and distribution of cocaine.
The charges stem from Thomson's defense of Oscar Salvtierra-Jovel, 37, formerly of Thomas Court, Winchester, who is incarcerated on federal drug charges.
On Monday, the U.S. attorney's office asked the court under seal "to sanction communication by the Government with Marlon Kelley and Lemuel Roberts, two individuals currently represented by defendant Paul Thomson in criminal proceedings in state court," according to a response by the federal prosecutor to Judge James P. Jones' order to unseal the application.
"The Government explained to the Court that the Government intended to communicate with Kelley and Roberts because the Government had received information suggesting that Thomson committed yet additional evidence tampering offenses related to these individuals," the prosecutors' response states.
U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy asked the court to seal the application because releasing the information could jeopardize the ongoing investigation. But the prosecutors acknowledge they may not need to file the application to talk to the two individuals.
"The government represents that it is not ethically precluded from such contact, but, 'out of an abundance of caution,' seeks prior approval of court," the prosecutors state.
Jones on Tuesday denied the government's "expedited application for order authorizing direct contact with two represented parties."
"I find that there are not sufficient grounds for the court to consider authorization of such contact," the judge wrote.
The court, in an order dated Tuesday and sealed, concluded it did not have the authority to answer the government's request because the court did not have supervisory authority over Kelley and Roberts because they are defendants in state and not federal court.
The order, however, remained silent on the question of communication as posed by the government.
The government did not oppose the court's unsealing of its application.
Later on Wednesday, Thomson's attorney, John P. Flannery II, filed a motion for a protective order against any and all contacts by Lanelle Hockman. Thomson, as a condition of his release on bail, is prohibited from having contact with Hockman, the motion states. However, Flannery indicates Hockman tried to contact his client on
Tuesday night, and Thomson's wife, Anna, several weeks ago. Thomson also must have no contact with Boden, identified as Hockman's daughter.
Flannery cites in the motion that Hockman sent text messages to Thomson's wife on Jan. 27.
Hockman stated, "U have everything u have ruined me and my family." "U have ruined us all of us will come out with out a scar." "Paul I hope u can live with all of this my daughter behind bars while u and your wife love and live your life I am totally sick and I am sure u do not care."
"The import of these text messages is that Ms. Hockman is 'watching' and 'monitoring' both Mr. Thomson and Ms. Thomson," Flannery states.
Hockman, according to Flannery, has been cooperating with the authorities since before she appeared in front of the grand jury Jan. 20.
But Flannery states the defense suspects Hockman may try to prompt Thomson to violate the condition of his release.
Flannery notes Hockman and Thomson had an affair that has long since been over but the attorney states she appears to feel differently about the separation.
In his motion, Flannery also asked the court to require the government to produce any report from the Drug Enforcement Agency about Hockman's contacts with the Thomsons. Hockman had threatened by text that she would tell the DEA about having contacted Thomson, Flannery said.
Boden and Thomson remain free on bond pending their next court appearances, scheduled for March 21.