Lawyer wants special prosecutor dismissed from Varughese case - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lawyer wants special prosecutor dismissed from Varughese case

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- The attorney for Gaege Bethune wants to get rid of the special prosecutor investigating Pravin Varughese's death.

A judge appointed David Robinson to handle the case in March of 2015 after Jackson County state's attorney Mike Carr stepped aside.

Steve Greenberg wants the investigation to end because he feels Bethune did not commit a crime.

In a 13-page filing, he lays out what he believes to be improper conduct by the special prosecutor and several other people involved in investigation Varughese's death.

"While Mr. Bethune is deeply sympathetic to the pain and suffering resulting from the death of Pravin Varughese, the time has come to end this," Greenberg said in the filing.

Varughese died in February 2014 after a fight between the two men.

Greenberg claims his death has become distorted by those with an agenda.

"Furthermore, that a victim's family, their media friends, and politicians may disagree with the state's attorney's professional assessment of the evidence-- or a grand jury's refusal to return a true bill (of indictment)-- is irrelevant to the question of whether a special prosecutor should be appointed," Greenberg said.

Greenberg's motion is not for Bethune's criminal case, just the investigation into Varughese's death. He also filed a motion to intervene in that case since Bethune isn't a part of it.

Greenberg argues a couple things: First, that Robinson's appointment wasn't proper.

He said Jackson County State's attorney Mike Carr had "a constitutional obligation to defend the (first) grand jury's 'no true bill' (of indictment) decision and not to run away."

Robinson disagrees in his response to the motion, saying Carr has no obligation to defend the first grand jury's decision, especially since new evidence came to light afterward.

That new evidence was the testimony of a girl Bethune spent the night with after his fight with Varughese.

Robinson also defended Carr's decision to step aside.

"(Carr) decided that the appearance of impropriety in this case was simply too great to continue prosecuting the case, as it would risk diminishing the public's esteem and confidence in the criminal justice system," Robinson said in his filing.

As for Greenberg's second assertion that no crime was committed, Robinson said Judge Mark Clarke acknowledged there was enough evidence for a conviction, despite ordering a new trial in September because of concerns with the way the indictment was worded.

As for Bethune's criminal case, Robinson still plans to move forward with his motion to drop the charges as they're currently worded and a hearing is set for Dec. 5.

He expects the motion to remove him from the investigation to also be discussed.

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