UPDATE: Elena Fast has provided excerpts of court testimony to support her claim. On the witness stand, a friend of the alleged victim testified that she was instructed by the prosecutor in the case to delete her social media accounts. See excerpts of the transcript below.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Broome County District Attorney Mike Korchak is pushing back hard against allegations that his office acted improperly in its prosecution of the Colonial restaurant case.
On Tuesday, former Colonial owners Ron Kweller and Jordan Rindgen were acquitted on charges that they had sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman.
Yesterday, one of Kwelller’s attorneys, Elena Fast, issued a news release accusing the DA’s office of prosecutorial misconduct, alleging that the Assistant DA had withheld text messages and instructed a key witness to delete her social media account.
Korchak says that witness was mistaken when she testified that the ADA encouraged her to delete the account and Fast knows it.
He says sworn affidavits show that advice to hide social media posts came from others, while some witnesses deleted texts long before they ever met with prosecutors.
“We do have information that the witnesses were in contact with an attorney outside of the D.A.’s office that they were taking advice from. Again, that’s an unfortunate circumstance for everyone involved, but I stand with the prosecutors in my office. We did nothing improper in this case. It was just a very difficult case, and we continue to stand with the victims,” said Korchak.
Korchak says the lack of forensic evidence made the case more challenging, but not unique.
He says DA’s often bring charges in cases that rely solely on witness testimony. And he says just because guilt beyond a reasonable doubt was not determined, doesn’t mean something criminal did not take place.
Here are excerpts of the transcript from when Tom Jackson, attorney for Jordan Rindgen, was cross-examining the prosecution witness:
Q. Now do you remember talking about in that group text deleting social media?
Q. Why were you doing that?
A. I was told to.
Q. Who told you to do that?
A. The DA’s office.
Q. The DA’s office told to you delete your social media?
A. To remove myself from social media, and the posting of.
Q. So when they told you to delete your social media, was that before or after you got a new phone?
A. Way before.
Q. So you deleted all your social media after November 27th of 2021 because the DA’s office told you to do that?