Courts & Crime

Nancy Garrido's lawyer says transcript release would hurt chance of fair trial

In the strongest possible terms, Nancy Garrido's attorney is arguing against release of grand jury transcripts involving the kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard, saying they contain such "evil" that his client could never get a fair trial if they are made public.

Stephen Tapson, arguing against an effort by The Bee and other media organizations to force release of documents that have been sealed in the case, filed papers in El Dorado Superior Court saying both he and Nancy Garrido oppose the release of any sealed documents.

The issue is scheduled to be argued in a court hearing in Placerville today, and Tapson left no doubts in his court declaration that the case against Nancy and Phillip Garrido could be severely damaged by release of transcripts from a grand jury session held in secret in September.

"I have received calls from Australia; Rome, Italy, and London, England, from people who have seen my visage on television," Tapson wrote. "I have examined hundreds of transcripts that vividly describe murder, rape, pillage, but nowhere in my experience have I seen a transcript that describes evil, as is contained in the grand jury transcript in People v. Garrido.

"I believe that any person who reads the grand jury transcript in this case would be adversely affected to the point they would be agreeing to the guilt of the defendant prior to the trial beginning."

Dugard was 11 when she was kidnapped in 1991 from outside her home near South Lake Tahoe.

Authorities say the Garridos pulled her into a car and spirited her away to their Antioch-area home, where she was held captive for 18 years in sheds and tents in their backyard, and forced to bear two daughters to Phillip Garrido, who was on parole at the time of the abduction for kidnapping and rape.

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