Feds argue against release of witness names in Van Til case
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com July 5, 2013 6:40PM
George Van Til, Lake County Surveyor.
Updated: July 5, 2013 9:36PM
Federal attorneys are objecting to a move by Lake County Surveyor George Van Til’s attorney to force them to turn over the name of witnesses against the politician.
A government brief, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, argues that the witnesses all worked for Van Til at some point and that some of them still work for him.
“The witnesses who currently work for the defendant are still subject to daily contact with him,” the filing says. “Furthermore, the defendant has supervisory authority over these individuals, including job reassignment and/or termination.”
The filing also notes that the government does not have to turn over the evidence now and does not plan to do so until the Friday before the trial, which is set for July 29.
Van Til, who is accused of using his office employees and equipment to work on his re-election campaigns in 2008 and 2012, has requested that the government be forced to turn over the names of the witness now. His attorney, Scott King, has said that he cannot adequately advise Van Til on whether to pursue a plea agreement or what the terms of a potential plea agreement might be until he knows more about the government’s evidence against the surveyor.
King defended his client in his response to the government’s filing, noting that Van Til has continued to work fairly with all his employees since his arrest and release on bond in May.
“There has been no indication whatsoever that the defendant has in any way conducted himself inappropriately or vindictively with any of these individuals since receiving those materials,” King wrote.
He adds that Van Til would also likely face several punishments, including new charges, if officials found he had acted negatively toward one of the government’s witnesses.