Attorneys on both sides of the $20 million wrongful death lawsuit pending against three gay men over the 2006 stabbing death of D.C. attorney Robert Wone have not responded to media calls about an unconfirmed report that the parties have reached a settlement in the case.
The blog Who Murdered Robert Wone.com last week cited an unidentified source as saying Kathy Wone, Robert Wone’s widow, and other Wone family members reached a settlement with Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward. A settlement would end the case and eliminate the need for a trial scheduled to begin in October.
Attorney Benjamin Razi, who represents Kathy Wone in the case, and attorney and former D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti, who is on the legal team representing the three gay defendants, did not return calls from the Blade.
The D.C. Superior Court’s online case docket, which keeps track of public records in pending cases, did not have any information about a settlement as of Wednesday. However, the docket shows that on May 25, Judge Michael Rankin cancelled a court-ordered mediation session between the parties scheduled for June 14 at the request of the attorneys for Price, Zaborsky, and Ward. The docket doesn’t say why the defendants sought to cancel the mediation session.
But court-ordered mediation sessions are sometimes cancelled when a settlement is reached through other channels.
The three gay men were found not guilty in June 2010 on criminal charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and evidence tampering in connection with Robert Wone’s murder. Wone, a friend of the three men, was found stabbed to death in the guest bedroom of their Dupont Circle area townhouse. Authorities have yet to charge anyone with the murder.
Kathy Wone filed her wrongful death lawsuit against the three men in November 2008. The case was placed on hold during the criminal trial at the request of the attorneys representing Price, Zaborsky and Ward. All three men have refused to answer questions in pre-trial depositions for the civil case on grounds that doing so would violate their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Sources familiar with police and prosecutors say authorities could still charge the three men with first or second degree murder or manslaughter in connection with Wone’s death if new evidence surfaces in the case.