Hatch defense denied move to disqualify State Attorney’s Office

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Senior Judge James Midelis struck down Defense Attorney Greg Eisenmenger’s motion early Thursday to disqualify the two Assistant State Attorneys assigned to the case.

Eisenmenger unsuccessfully argued that due to conflicts in testimony from yesterday’s key witness, Janette Granberg, and statements from the State Attorney’s Office, Assistant State Attorneys Ryan Butler and Lev Evans could be called as “fact witnesses.”

As such, Eisenmenger argued, they would be disqualified from prosecuting the case. He also argued that the entire 19th District of the State Attorney’s Office should be disqualified.

Judge Midelis, however, did not agree with Eisenmenger’s arguments and ruled that Butler and Evans could indeed remain on the prosecutorial team.

The issue came up Wednesday when the prosecution’s first witness, Granberg, said she had been granted immunity for her testimony and that she had documentation to prove it.

The State Attorney’s Office, however, said she had not been given such assurances.

Today, prior to the jury being brought in at 10 a.m., Granberg told the court that she could not find the document and could not swear that she had been promised immunity.

Her attorney, Andy Metcalf, told the court that he had explained to her that the witness subpoena she had been issued from the State Attorney’s Office – under state law – provides for “use immunity.”

Such immunity means she could testify without being put into jeopardy. However, if an independent investigation not based on her testimony found that she had engaged in criminal activity, Granberg could be at risk, Metcalf said.

Granberg is expected to take the stand again today, picking up where Eisenmenger left off during the cross examination.

Eisenmenger plans to use Granberg’s testimony from yesterday and her testimony from this morning to discredit her, he told the court.

Court is in recess until 10 a.m. when the jury will be seated and testimony will begin.

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