6/29 09 – AP: Prosecutors Refuse Alamo Requests

MyFox Memphis
June 29, 2009

Prosecutors Refuse Alamo Requests

Federal prosecutors refused on Monday to turn over mental health evaluations and hospital records of witnesses in the upcoming child-sex trial of jailed evangelist Tony Alamo.

In a filing in U.S. District Court, prosecutors said they had no records fitting that description and claimed providing such materials to Alamo’s lawyers would violate confidentiality rules. The seven-page filing also revealed that the prosecutors’ case against Alamo likely will rely heavily on witness testimony, as federal agents claim to have done no forensic testing nor tapped the evangelist’s telephone lines before his Sept. 25 arrest.

Lawyers for Alamo sought a host of documents from prosecutors in recent court filings as their client’s July 13 trial on a 10-count indictment nears. In a filing to U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes, prosecutors said they provided defense lawyers Alamo’s previous criminal history and would offer an evidence list on the Friday before the trial starts.

Prosecutors balked at providing mental health records, arguing that Alamo’s lawyers offered no evidence that the documents would be relevant.

“Confidential communications between a licensed psychotherapist and patient made in the course of diagnosis and treatment are protected from compelled disclosure,” the filing reads.

Prosecutors also refused to turn over locations of anyone with knowledge of the jailed evangelist’s alleged crimes, saying that “the government has no duty to conduct the defendant’s investigation.”

Don Ervin, a Houston lawyer representing Alamo, did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.

Alamo, 74, is accused of taking young girls across state lines for sex. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecutors said Alamo never made any statement to police following his arrest.

In previous court filings, prosecutors said they wanted to include witness testimony from at least two women who were underage when Alamo had sex with them. Other women will testify about how Alamo had them transported across state lines to meet him for sex, prosecutors said.

The filing said prosecutors had no DNA or fingerprint evidence tested for Alamo’s trial nor any plans to conduct such tests.

Alamo’s ministry has churches in Arkansas, California and New York. The church uses a fleet of passenger vans to ferry members between locations, as well as out on trips to offer tracts in major cities. While prosecutors have been largely quiet about the evidence they plan to offer at trial, a previous lawyer for Alamo said the case includes allegations of the evangelist having sex with the girls on church buses.

FBI agents and Arkansas State Police troopers raided Alamo’s compound in Fouke on Sept. 20. Monday’s court filing by prosecutors also offered other details about the investigation since the raid.

Investigators also recorded every telephone call Alamo has made since being held at a jail in Texarkana and videotaped every meeting the evangelist had with women followers in the jail since March 28, prosecutors said. State child-welfare officials are still looking for nearly 100 children associated with the ministry. They have taken 36 children into custody since the September raid.

Since establishing a ministry in Arkansas, Alamo has been a controversial and flamboyant figure in the state. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, describes the ministry as a cult that rails against homosexuals, Roman Catholics and the government. Alamo was convicted of tax-related charges in 1994 and served four years in prison after the Internal Revenue Service said he owed the government $7.9 million.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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