Updated at 9:50 a.m.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — After five weeks of testimony from witnesses for the state, Defense Attorney Greg Eisenmenger will begin Tuesday to present his case for defendant Ira C. Hatch.
Hatch faces 45 felony charges including grand theft, racketeering and money laundering that led to about 800 people being defrauded out of $4 million in deposits at Hatch’s firm Coastal Escrow Services Inc. Eisenmenger said he plans to use one day of court time and among the witnesses to take the stand was Hatch’s ex-wife, Marjorie at about 9:30 a.m. Eisenmenger’s list of potential defense witnesses represents a small fraction of the 145 witnesses called by prosecutors. On Friday, Senior Judge James Midelis cautioned Eisenmenger about causing delays in the trial due to witnesses not being available when needed.
“I have not staggered my witnesses, Judge,” Eisenmenger responded. “I have told all of them to be here at 9 a.m.”
It is unclear what Eisenmenger’s strategy is, but last week he handed the clerk a hand-written list of nine people that he intended to call on a piece of yellow legal pad paper. The list contained the following names, in this order, with only a city or county of residence next to the name. Eisenemenger did not include any Hatch family members on that list.
– Mike Peter, president of Reactive Networking Forensics, Inc. of Melbourne. Peter has been a computer forensic examiner for about a decade and holds degrees in both business administration and computer science. Peter was retained by the defense to examine copies of computer hard drives and Quickbooks files obtained from the offices of former Hatch law partner Kevin Doty in May.
– Mary Ann Doty of Vero Beach, wife of former Hatch law partner Kevin Doty. It is expected that Mary Ann Doty will be questioned about data contained in background. This might include properties she owns or has owned, companies and people with whom she is affiliated. Eisenmenger questioned Kevin Doty about a similar report during cross-examination when Doty was called as a witness for the state. The state did not call Mary Ann Doty. – Mike Scott of Vero Beach, President and Manager of Teamsters Local 769 of Vero. – Glenn Webber, Esq., a Stuart-based attorney who represented Ira and Marjorie Hatch on a pro bono basis in some of the civil actions filed against them by alleged victims to recover losses. – Steve Henderson, Esq. of Vero Beach, Of Counsel at Collins Brown Caldwell law firm on the barrier island in Vero. – Officer Milo Martin, Vero Beach Poice Department. – Thom Fair, former Brevard County Homicide Agent. – Theodore Herzog of Key West and Vero Beach. Herzog was voluntarily disbarred in April 2008 as part of an investigation of embezzlement.
– Charles Strickland of Vero Beach, owner of General Freight Trucking.
As soon as the defense case wraps up, attorneys will begin arguing their positions regarding the reduction of most of the charges facing Hatch. The state may also call some rebuttal witnesses.
Closing arguments are expected this week, after which the case will go to the jury. Prior to dismissing the jury for deliberations, Judge Midelis must read aloud 90 pages of jury instructions about the counts and must explain the verdict form.
The trial is taking place in Courtroom 1 on the second floor of the Indian River County Courthouse.