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Article published May 2, 2013
Witness tampering risk
Itzi Meztli Slippery Rock Borough Steven Hively Cranberry Township
During the April 24 Butler County commissioners meeting, Commissioner Jim Eckstein declared to the public that we were going to be main witnesses in Commissioner Dale Pinkerton’s defamation lawsuit against him. But what he purposely left out was that Eckstein — himself — was the one who subpoenaed us for depositions on his behalf. On March 1, we had to show up at one of his attorneys’ Butler office, take oaths to tell the truth, and were grilled by four attorneys for about an hour each. But Eckstein conveniently left out this key piece of pertinent information — in order to harass, intimidate and discredit us in any future court testimony that could prove very damaging to his defense. By Eckstein’s own admission, in fact, his subpoenas of us backfired against him badly. Therefore, we are respectfully requesting that Eckstein refrain from dragging our names into the public arena of county meetings, as we could be potential witnesses in any future trial involving his defamation court cases. If Eckstein continues to bring up his private legal affairs at such public meetings to verbally attack our integrity and credibility, then we will view it as “witness tampering,” or the willful obstruction of justice through attempts to harass, intimidate or influence a witness before or after his or her testimony in a court of law. Witness tampering is a criminal offense.