Judge Rejects Gorbey’s Call for a Mistrial

Posted April 30, 2008 at 6:36pm

Michael Gorbey and his assisting counsel Wednesday called for a mistrial as prosecutors continued to build their case that Gorbey headed to the Supreme Court on Jan. 18 with a loaded shotgun in hand.

Gorbey’s assisting counsel, Eugene Ohm, said where Gorbey was headed wasn’t relevant because all of the charges against him focus on his possession of the shotgun and explosive materials — not on what he was planning to do with them.

“They are building a case on a conspiracy to commit terrorism,” Ohm said, referring to the prosecution’s efforts to detail Gorbey’s movements before he was arrested on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Police stopped Gorbey two blocks from the Supreme Court and allegedly found him carrying a shotgun, a sword and dozens of rounds of ammunition. Investigators later found explosive materials — made into an apparent bomb — in a truck that police believe Gorbey drove to Capitol Hill.

For possessing all those items, Gorbey faces 14 charges and, if convicted, possibly decades in jail.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson rejected the mistrial request, explaining that prosecutors had to establish that it was Gorbey that afternoon who was walking near the Capitol outfitted in a military flak vest and camouflage pants, shotgun in hand.

That’s because Gorbey’s line of questioning has repeatedly implied that there is a conspiracy against him and that there is no reason he should have been arrested.

The trial’s third day also included the testimony of Robert Neff, an acquaintance of Gorbey’s, who provided details of what Gorbey was doing on the morning of his arrest.

Dressed in tight jeans and sporting a handlebar mustache and gray ponytail, Neff testified Gorbey pulled up to his house in Remington, Va., at about 7 a.m. in a green Chevy pickup. Neff works for Gorbey’s cousin doing “tree work,” and he said Gorbey was hoping to help out that day — a job Gorbey does only occasionally.

But Gorbey used Neff’s phone to call a court in D.C. and asked to see a judge, Neff said.

“I kind of just looked around like, ‘What are you doing?’ You know?” Neff said.

Neff testified that Gorbey then got “loud all of the sudden” and told the person on the phone, “You tell that judge I will see him today.” Gorbey left soon after, and the next time Neff saw the green truck was that night on the evening news.

“I saw that truck and I said, ‘Oh no,” Neff said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Cummings said prosecutors expected to finish cross-examining their witnesses today or Monday. The trial will not be held on Friday.

Daniel Heim contributed to this report.