Lawyers hired by the family of Annie Le GRD ’13, who was murdered in a Yale research facility a year ago Wednesday, are conducting their own investigation into the University’s handling of the circumstances surrounding her death, one of the attorneys said Wednesday.
In a phone interview, the lawyer, Brian King, said there is currently no lawsuit against the University, adding that the team of lawyers, from the New York-based firm Tacopina Seigel & Turano PC, was hired a few months ago to represent the Le family throughout the criminal process. The suspected murderer, Yale lab technician Raymond Clark III, has pleaded not guilty, and the defense is waiting to see all the evidence in the case.
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King arrived at New Haven Superior Court on Wednesday, the day that marked the anniversary of Le’s murder, and introduced himself to John Waddock, the state prosecutor handling the case against Clark. Waddock said the meeting did not go much further than the introductions.
King also appeared outside the courthouse and made statements to reporters.
“Why wasn’t anybody helping her when this was happening?” King told them. “Where was anybody? Apparently Yale has police, also have security. What was their role that day in checking for her? So those are the things that we’re looking into right now.”
Media outlets soon published reports Wednesday that the lawyers may sue the University over whether it negligently hired Clark and poorly managed the investigation of Le’s disappearance.
University General Counsel Dorothy Robinson said shehad not heard anything about a lawsuit.
One of Clark’s attorneys, Joseph Lopez, said that even if King’s firm does file a civil lawsuit, the criminal case will likely play out first.
Wednesday was otherwise a routine court date for Clark, who was not present. Beth Merkin, Clark’s other counsel, said Tuesday that the hearing was merely an opportunity for the judge to check on the progress of the discovery phase, during which the defendant has the right to review all evidence that could be presented against him in court.
Le was last seen walking into 10 Amistad St., a Yale research laboratory, on Sept. 8, 2009, and her body was found hidden behind a basement wall of that building five days later. In another four days, Clark was arrested and charged with her murder. He is being held at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, in Suffield, Conn., on $3 million bond.