By Lauren Jaech
The evidentiary hearing for Ajay Dev continued today with a discussion about bringing in new witnesses and deciding the next step for the proceedings.
Mr. Dev has been serving a 378-year sentence since 2009 after being convicted of raping his adopted daughter. Now, the defense, attorney Edward Swanson, contends that there is new evidence to be brought forth in the testimonies of witnesses living in Nepal. These witnesses will bring evidence that Mr. Dev’s adopted daughter lied about the allegations she brought against him.
Bringing the witnesses to the US for the trial presents a challenge for the defense. Mr. Swanson told the judge that his attempts to secure tourist visas for the witnesses have not been successful, in part because of financial reasons.
The defense requested that the prosecution, attorney Steve Mount, ask the District Attorney to get the witnesses paroled into the US if he is not able to secure visas.
Mr. Mount responded to this request by arguing that if the defense is unable to get the witnesses here now, it is likely that they could not have been witnesses during the original trial in 2009 and therefore, they are not needed for the current proceedings.
However, in response to the judge asking Mr. Mount if he would be willing to help bring the witnesses to the US, he said that he was willing to contact the federal government and report back.
Mr. Mount also stated that, in the event that they are unable to get the new witnesses into the US, he would object to having them testify over Skype.
The defense countered that there is a commission process through which he would be able to get testimony overseas and admit it into court.
Both Mr. Mount and Mr. Swanson are prepared to start at the end of July with a review of the transcription of a key phone call and the enhancement of the tape recording of that phone call.
The prosecution plans to deny every aspect of what has been said in declarations considering the new evidence uncovered in the tape enhancement and reported an intention to cross-examine the translator of the tape, which is in Nepalese.
The next hearing will take place on July 26th at 8:30 a.m. in Department 10.