June 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Attorneys mum on Wone settlement rumor

Kathy Wone (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

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.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Is the lesson supposed to be that a good attorney can pretty much get away with murder? Sure, it may bankrupt him, but he won’t spend his life in jail. Poor Robert Wone, may he rest in peace. Poor Kathy Wone, too. She has been dealing with this whole depressing saga for years.

  • This has been a very troubling case from the beginning. The police really messed this up because it seems clear that one or more of the defendents was involved in the murder, and all three have been involved in the cover up and obstruction of justice. They all should serve jail time for obstruction of justice if the proof needed to convict one or more for murder is not forthcoming.

  • These clowns think they got away with murder. The narcissistic little queens make me sick. They’ll slip up and make a mistake. One of them killed Robert Wone because his libido told him it was OK to be a sexual sadist with his friend as the victim. Is it because the MPD is so homophobic that they didn’t investigate thoroughly or are they just plain stupid? It’s all there as plain as day yet the detectives can’t seem to uncover the truth. No wonder it took so long to prosecute Chandra Levy’s case.

  • Rumor has it!

    I still think the website Wmrw.com wants to be a center of attention to this case for personal gain. It stirrs commotion to feed other media to broadcast the news for them. It is too noisy and bloggers are self-absorbed that sometimes forget about others’ First Amendment. Without certain occasional lawyers, who don’t post often enough, the 10 to 12 regular people are revolving (entertaining) themselves days in/out. It is divided in 2 groups and if they decide to despise you, they’d call you “Team Price.” Many have hard times exercising the “differences.”

    It’s a standard practice that the Judge has to sign off the “Order” before the case is “disposed.” Then we (might) hear the result. Then the Court will remove the case track.

    Lou, your reporting style is better than others. You did not “quote” from Wmrw.com.

  • There is something wrong about WhoMurderedRobertWone website that just doesn’t quit. Is there money involved like paid advertising to keep that website going? The case is about to settle (may be it has) but Craig Brownstein and Doug Johnson (not only partners but living together) still hanging on to the case. Craig, would you let Kathy go? You are addicted to her husband’s death. One day you will have to quit this addiction. It’s not your passion, it’s your addiction, Craig and Doug!

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