The Story of Dawn Pasela by Tony Viola
After my indictment but before the federal trial, prosecutors directed the Office Manager of the Task Force, Dawn Pasela, to befriend me and secretly record a series of interviews to gain insight into defense trial strategies and tactics. I did not know Dawn worked for prosecutors or I would not have spent time with her.
She began attending Happy Hours my friends and supporters sponsored, donated funds towards my legal fees and offered to help me doing research as I prepared for trial. Dawn thought what she was doing was wrong and she began to have either romantic feelings or feelings of empathy and compassion for me and decided to tell me what she was doing.
Dawn also provided me with evidence prosecutors claimed did not exist; that evidence was used to win the state trial. Dawn’s cancelled checks were used to subpoena my legal defense fund, identify fund contributors and harass those individuals. Prosecutors routinely violated the Sixth Amendment right of a defendant to prepare for trial without government interference. For instance, prosecutors downloaded all of my attorney-client communications from computers seized in raids, marked those up with post-it notes and distributed those to all co-defendants as “discovery.”
Dawn also provided information about wrongdoing by task force members, including Rick Wagner (who I subpoened to state court). The task force said I sold substandard properties but, in fact, housing inspectors and building de partment employees were secretly ”waiving” rules and approving properties as “violation free” for developers involved in my case. Prosecutors never disclosed this fact but, thanks to information from Dawn, it was an important part of my defense and was also leaked to the news media.
Dawn was never trained in undercover techniques. Being involved with the hiding and destruction of evidence troubled her greatly. One day , after a meeting with the ”victim bank” in the prosecutor’s office, the lender admitted that the bank was at fault and that the bank should not have approved any of the loans in my case. Prosecutors then decided to indict bank employees as soon as my federal trial was over — on the exact same properties.
Dawn was told to place evidence in different ”buckets” depending if it was helpful to me or damaging to me. At the same time, the lender executive (Steve Newcomb, whose 302 prosecutors hid but Dawn later gave me) created a detailed spreadsheet of all of the things lender employees either overlooked or did wrong. Dawn grew emotional and asked the prosecutor, “If you know the bank’s at fault, why won’t you leave Tony alone?” Later that day, Dawn decided to help me. It took her several weeks to tell me what was going on but she did. She also (wrongly) blamed herself for my federal conviction because, she believed, had she informed me about what was going on inside the task force, I would not have been convicted.
Two days before I was sent to jail, Dawn provided me key evidence I used to win the state trial. Dawn also provided me with extremely helpful advice and insight and offered to testify as a defense witness at the second trial. When prosecutors saw Dawn’s name on my witness list — and when I kept using evidence they said didn’t exist — they threatened Dawn ”with prosecution” if she testified on my behalf. dawn called Judge Daniel Gaul and said she was too terrified to appear. I was permitted to speak with Dawn and we had a long conversation. That night, Dawn passed away; she was found the next day by her parents.
Mr. and Mrs, Edward and Karen Pasela have been helping me win my case and have provided detailed affidavits about what took place in my case. The record in my case also contains text messages from Dawn, a copy of one of her checks towards my legal fees, confirmation that she wore a wire and · Facebook messages.
I would not have won the second trial without Dawn’s help. None of the government misconduct that is on my record would have become known to me without Dawn. I’m fighting my case to win but, also, I hope there’s justice for Dawn and that the prosecutors who drove this beautiful young lady to her death are held to account.