Tart response from prosecutor in Burlington murder case email dispute

  • Daniel Rak is charged with murdering his father in Burlington Township.

    Daniel Rak is charged with murdering his father in Burlington Township.

 
 
Updated 3/2/2017 5:41 PM

An attorney defending the Kane County state's attorney's office against allegations prosecutors improperly accessed defense team emails in a Burlington Township murder case has fired back, arguing Public Defender Kelli Childress is wasting taxpayer dollars because she admitted she doesn't believe the emails were read.

Daniel Rak, 31, is charged with first-degree murder and domestic battery in the death of his father, Jeffrey, 58, whose body was found at his house on the 13N0-99 block of Engel Road on Feb. 14, 2016.

 

Childress has sought to have the murder charges dismissed, arguing prosecutors last fall improperly accessed emails of attorneys and investigators on Rak's defense team, thus violating attorney-client privilege.

Childress issued a subpoena for law enforcement emails regarding Rak's case, and the county's IT department delivered all emails containing the name "Rak" and the case number. An assistant state's attorney who received the emails has said she immediately deleted them after realizing some were from Childress' office, records show.

Daniel Purdom, a special state's attorney appointed to defend the Kane County state's attorney's office on Childress' motion to dismiss because misconduct has been alleged, said prosecutors didn't read any of the emails.

Purdom cited an email Childress sent to another prosecutor on the Rak case, in which Childress wrote she didn't "personally believe you guys (prosecutors) are cheating" and didn't believe the emails were read.

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"If anyone has caused actual harm or prejudice to these proceedings, causing judicial resources to be wasted it's Childress," part of Purdom's motion read. "It is clear that PD (Public Defender) Childress only makes these allegations for purposes of gaining plea leverage."

Purdom also denied allegations of eavesdropping or intercepting the emails in a "surreptitious manner."

"These allegations are entirely unsupported and made in bad faith. Nonetheless, despite that this (eavesdropping) statute is unapplicable, ironically it made its way into a Daily Herald newspaper article. It is readily apparent that these allegations are present only for the purposes of making salacious, outrageous claims, and for no legitimate purpose."

Judge D.J. Tegeler will hear arguments Friday on whether the charges should be dismissed.

Tegeler also will rule on a Childress motion to have Rak's statements to police banned from trial; Childress has argued Rak's statements were not voluntary.

Rak faces 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted and is tentatively set for trial May 1.

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