Former prosecutor weighs in on tampering allegations against Orange County district attorney
News 12 is taking a close look at stunning allegations that accuse the Orange County district attorney of interfering in the Megan McDonald case and is speaking with a former prosecutor about the new details unfolding in the public eye.
Leaked state police documents accuse the Dave Hoovler of “tampering and interfering” with the investigation because of information he has about the murder from a now-deceased, former client from 2008, when he was a defense attorney.
“Attorney-client privilege is sacred,” says Rick Trunfio, a law professor at Syracuse University and former prosecutor. “It can never be revealed, even in death.”
Trunfio says despite the allegations, Hoovler’s conflict as district attorney didn’t exist until Holley was arrested last April – which is why he stepped down and turned the case over to a special prosecutor.
“District Attorney Hoovler was in almost an unprecedented situation in the sense that he represented somebody who may have been involved. This is what’s missing from this equation – a prosecutor has an ethical obligation to ensure the right person is charged.”
For the first time since Holley was charged, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case tells News 12 that more than a dozen senior homicide prosecutors from across New York state reviewed the case before an arrest was made and said there wasn’t enough evidence.
The McDonald family feels differently and issued this scathing statement pointing fingers at Hoovler:
“Megan McDonald’s family says to David Hoovler: Enough with the fake outrage. YOU must STOP abusing victims and their families. YOU have chosen to hide your past. YOU are the one that ambushed Megan’s family days after an arrest YOU failed to show up for. YOU were surrounded by seven members of YOUR staff, and YOU changed your story in front of us multiple times. YOU cannot claim to be on Megan’s side as the DA and also represent Andre Thurston - Suspect #2.”
Trunfio says either way, the bickering may work in Holley’s favor.
“All this stuff that’s out there is just going to help him because it looks like this was so dysfunctional,” Trunfio says.
Hoovler denies that he tampered with the case and says he can’t comment further while the case is pending in court.