Attorney denies claim, judge rebuffs prosecutor bid for gag order

D.A. claims defense lawyer tampered with victim in Camden stalking case

By Stephen Betts | Mar 22, 2019
Source: File photo

Rockland — The District Attorney's Office is accusing a defense lawyer of tampering with the alleged victim in a Camden stalking case.

The lawyer has vehemently denied the allegation.

And an attempt by the deputy district attorney in the case to both seal the allegation and impose a gag order were rejected by the court.

The bizarre chain of events unfolded Friday afternoon, March 22, in the case of 50-year-old Jodi L. Schiller of Camden.

Schiller had been free on bail since September on a charge of domestic violence stalking and criminal trespass. She was arrested again Thursday afternoon on a charge of violating her bail for repeatedly failing to contact the Maine Pre-Trial Office, which was a condition of her bail.

At her initial appearance Friday in Knox County court on the new charge, Deputy District Attorney Andrei Maciag filed a contempt motion against Schiller's attorney, Laura Shaw.. He also asked that the judge impound the motion and prohibit the parties from making any public disclosures about the matter.

Maciag said there was an allegation of tampering against the victim in the stalking case by the defense. The prosecutor included a letter from the District Attorney's Office victim witness advocate, Stephanie Laite, in which she states that the victim contacted her March 18 to say he wanted to drop the charges because Shaw had said the defense had information about him that it might give to the media.

The victim was distraught, saying the information would harm him.

At Friday's hearing, Justice Daniel Billings, who was hearing the case via video conference, said he was uncomfortable with how the state was handling the case. He asked for more details from the prosecutor, questioning whether he had made a case for contempt or for impounding the motion.

Maciag said he did not want to speak out about the matter in open court, because there was an ongoing investigation. "I want to proceed with caution," he said.

Billings then rejected the motion to seal the allegation, thus making it public.

Shaw issued a statement after the hearing, denying the allegation.

"I was shocked by the suggestion that I did anything wrong," Shaw said. "I was doing what I am supposed to do, which is talk to witnesses before a trial. For the state to suggest that I engaged in misconduct is outrageous and I see it as an attempt to intimidate me from representing my client. I will continue to fight zealously for my client within the bounds of the ethical rules, and I will not stop fighting on this case and every case until justice has been done."

According to an affidavit filed last summer by Camden police with the Knox County Court, Schiller and the alleged victim had a relationship in California in 2007 and 2008. He moved to Maine in 2010 after their relationship ended.

The man reported beginning in 2012 that he was being stalked by Schiller while living in Belfast. That continued through last summer after he moved to Camden, according to the affidavit.

Schiller purchased a home a few lots away from the man, according to police.

At a hearing in September, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald said there was a public safety concern with Schiller. The prosecutor said Schiller suffers from a mental health issue, has a difficult time distinguishing between reality and delusion, won't take no for an answer from her former boyfriend, and in April 2018 was stopped by state police through the use of a spike mat when she didn't stop for an officer. He said she also hinted at harming herself if she could not be with the man.

Schiller has pleaded not guilty. Defense attorney Christopher MacLean said at last year's court hearing that the allegations were overblown.

Schiller was committed to the psychiatric unit of Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport last Sept. 10 after a fire at her Park Street house in Camden.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Mar 24, 2019 07:35

I know I can't imagine a lawyer doing something wrong.

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