Report: Surveillance video of lawmaker lost or destroyed
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The lawyer for a former Rhode Island state representative charged with lying about where he lives said Friday that more than 1,400 hours of undercover surveillance video recorded by state police during the investigation have been lost or “destroyed.”
William DiMitri, the attorney for Democratic former Providence Rep. John Carnevale, disclosed during a court hearing Friday that prosecutors informed him the footage was not backed up and was recorded over, WPRI-TV reported .
“Knowing they were investigating this, I think it is inexcusable, and I am seeking further discovery at this point,” DiMitri said outside court. “I think it is going to be an issue should this case go to trial.”
Carnevale pleaded not guilty last year to felony perjury charges and denies allegations he lied about living in Providence to the city’s Board of Canvassers. WPRI reported in 2016 that an investigation by the station raised questions about whether he lived in a home he owns in Johnston, outside his legislative district.
Carnevale, who is seeking re-election to his old seat in the House this year, withdrew his 2016 re-election bid after he was unable to convince the Board of Canvassers that he lived in the district he represented. The board had ruled that Carnevale was not an eligible voter because he didn’t live at the Providence residence where he was registered to vote.
DiMitri said the surveillance video was recorded by two cameras outside Carnevale’s Providence address over a 30-day period, and a detective told the grand jury the video showed Carnevale was only at that home on three occasions.
But DiMitri said he has city residents lined up to testify they frequently saw Carnevale at the Providence home.
DiMitri said the video “is very important because it goes to the basic gist of these charges as to whether or not John was living there.”
A state police official declined to comment on the video, citing the ongoing case, but said officials stand by the investigation.
A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said the state is moving forward with the prosecution.