Three gay men named as defendants in a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit over the 2006 murder of attorney Robert Wone inside their Dupont Circle area townhouse have agreed to an out-of-court settlement in the case with Wone’s widow, who filed the suit.
A statement released on Wednesday by attorneys representing Kathy Wone says defendants Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky, and Dylan Ward “have agreed to a monetary settlement, including payments to the Robert E. Wone Memorial Trust.”
The statement doesn’t disclose the amount of money the defendants agreed to pay Mrs. Wone. It says she will use some of the money to advance the causes her husband believed in, including college scholarships and free legal services to people in need.
Attorneys representing Price, Zaborsky, and Ward — and the men themselves — couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.
“A central purpose of this civil lawsuit has always been to uncover as many facts as possible about the circumstances surrounding Robert’s death,” says the statement from Kathy Wone’s attorneys, Benjamin Razi and Patrick Regan.
“Our extensive discovery efforts included detailed questioning under oath of each defendant,” the statement says. “In their deposition testimony, and in written discovery responses, none of them denied responsibility for Robert’s death. Instead, each refused to respond on Fifth Amendment grounds.”
The statement says the three defendants made it clear that they would invoke the Fifth Amendment at a trial, which had been scheduled for later this year.
“Based on all of the evidence, including these non-denials, we are confident that Robert’s estate would have prevailed at trial,” says the statement.
“Mrs. Wone has agreed to a settlement now because without the defendants’ truthful testimony, the civil trial – which was sure to be a painful experience for Robert’s family and friends – would not have uncovered any new information about what happened on August 2, 2006,” the statement says. “In addition, this settlement provides for monetary payments that most likely would not have been available to Robert’s estate had we won at trial.”
The three gay defendants were found not guilty at a criminal trial in which they were charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and evidence tampering in connection with Wone’s murder. Authorities haven’t charged anyone with the murder, and D.C. police and the U.S. Attorney’s office say the case remains open and they continue to seek more evidence to charge someone with Wone’s murder.
“I am very much at peace with my decision to settle this lawsuit,” Kathy Wone said in a separate statement released by her attorneys. “To me, their silence speaks volumes,” she said of the three defendants.
In an interview with the Washington Post before her attorney’s released their official announcement of the settlement, Kathy Wone said she remains convinced that the three men were involved in her husband’s murder.
“They can rot from the inside out from all the secrets they chose to keep,” she told the Post. “That’s their choice. I chose to move on.”