Government witness Kathryn Clover, who testified in over a dozen criminal cases, has now admitted destroying exculpatory evidence in criminal cases prosecuted by a multi-jurisdictional Mortgage Fraud Task Force.  In 2020, the investigative team obtained 600 pages of emails between Clover, Assistant Ohio Attorney General Dan Kasaris and Federal Prosecutor Mark Bennett confirming Clover had access to evidence located at Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force, and often requested such files from prosecutors, some of which she took home with her.  But prior to Tony’s first trial, the government claimed it lost computers seized in raids, that it misplaced witness statements and did not possess certain documents that Tony used at a subsequent trial to establish his innocence.

Multiple sworn affidavits claim Clover bragged about destroying evidence in Tony’s case but, now, emails between Clover, Kasaris and Bennett prove she had access to evidence inside the prosecutor’s office before it disappeared.  These emails prompted civil litigation against her for the “spoliation” of evidence, seeking discovery and a deposition to identify specific documents she discarded.  In response, Clover’s attorney, Jaye Schlachet, defends the destruction of evidence by arguing that Clover’s “attempt to destroy evidence … was done for the purpose of defending against her own criminal prosecution and not to impede” Viola’s defense, Viola v. Clover, CV-20-936897, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Tony Viola established his innocence at a second trial using evidence Kasaris and Bennett claimed did not exist, but that was provided by a whistleblower inside the prosecutor’s office, Task Force Office Manager Dawn Pasela.  Within the past year, both the FBI and Department of Justice have separately admitted that each made materially false statements about evidence in Tony’s criminal case, and the government is currently under a court order to produce this evidence, and explain its “disclosure decisions” before Tony’s federal trial, Viola v. Department of Justice, case no. 15-cv-242, W.D. Pa.

“The exact reasons why exculpatory evidence was destroyed is irrelevant,” said Tony Viola.  “Prosecutors have a duty to preserve exculpatory evidence and not allow a government witness to destroy evidence that establishes the innocence of criminal defendants.  Moreover, if it wasn’t for Dawn Pasela’s courage and commitment to justice, I would have lost the second trial and I’d still be in jail.  I’m asking the public to contact the Mr. Steve Irwin in Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, to ask the Ohio AG to investigate Kasaris’ actions in this and other cases, where exculpatory evidence has disappeared and innocent people were imprisoned.  Mr. Irwin can be reached at (614) 728-5417 or via email at [email protected].”

To learn more about Tony’s case, or to read key documents in Tony’s case, please visit the Evidence Locker.

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