Breaking: Prominent S.F. Private Investigator Indicted For Allegedly Scaring Off Witness
|Steve Vender, in a 2007 SF Weekly photograph|
"Justice is silenced by the culture of intimidation," Buckelew said in an e-mail to SF Weekly. "This terrorism in all its forms has no place in the criminal justice system and must end."
The district attorney's office alleges that Vender persuaded Ladarius Greer, the victim and star witness in last month's attempted-murder case against Phil Pitney, to disappear on the eve of his scheduled testimony at trial. During the Pitney trial, prosecutors introduced a transcript of a call Vender had made to Greer, suggesting he "visit the Fresno Riviera." Police assert that Vender told Greer he would be arrested on a Solano County warrant if he showed up in court.
Vender, a veteran investigator who has frequently been hired by defense lawyers in high-profile murder cases, has maintained that there was nothing illegal about his contact with Greer. He could not be reached for comment this afternoon.
No charges were filed against Pitney's defense attorney, Eric Safire, who said he had no knowledge of Vender's contact with Greer, although police say the intimidating phone call was made from Safire's law office.