Fairfax police secretly taped call with prosecutor in John Geer case
In February, as revelations about the Fairfax County police shooting death of John Geer were unfolding, a Fairfax police commander had to walk over to the county prosecutor’s office and make an embarrassing admission:
The police had secretly tape-recorded a phone conversation between one of their internal affairs commanders and the chief deputy county prosecutor, as prosecutors were seeking the internal affairs files of the shooter, Officer Adam D. Torres.
When Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh learned of the secret taping by police, he was irate. “In over thirty years as a prosecutor,” he wrote in a February e-mail, “I have never seen an instance of a police officer recording a prosecutor in this county.”
The covert taping of Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Casey M. Lingan was revealed this week in the newly unsealed case file of former chief deputy county attorney Cynthia L. Tianti, who is pursuing a grievance against the county for allegedly demoting her over her handling of the Geer case. County supervisors said Tianti had not advised them of key developments in the Geer case, including her office’s advice to police not to hand over the Torres files, which helped create a nearly two-year delay before Torres’s indictment this week.
At the county’s request, much of Tianti’s grievance file was redacted by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Daniel E. Ortiz under a claim of attorney-client privilege. Entire pages of Tianti’s 26-page grievance are obscured, and there are no almost no communications between Tianti and the county supervisors that would shed light on what the county’s leaders were told about the Geer case by their attorneys. The grievance does state that County Executive Edward L. Long Jr. had arranged for Tianti, a 26-year employee, to move to the Loudoun County attorney’s office for one year, but she apparently declined.