Federal judge in lawsuits over DC protest arrests to order probe into missing evidence

By Sarah Karush, AP
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Judge to order probe into missing protest records

WASHINGTON — A federal judge says he’ll order an investigation into the apparent destruction of evidence in a lawsuit over mass arrests during 2002 protests against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said Thursday that he is tempted to refer the matter for a criminal investigation, but said he’ll hold off to avoid interfering with civil cases.

A retired judge who was asked to investigate by the city of Washington, D.C. found that records appear to have been purged, but he couldn’t determine whether it was intentional.

Lawyers recently announced settlements in three lawsuits brought against the city by protesters. One lawsuit brought by four people who were working as journalists or legal observers remains.

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