Attorneys Spar in Gray Case
Hearing about gag order set for Friday
By Richard Prior
Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Attorneys for Quinn Gray, charged with helping fake her own kidnapping and trying to extort money from her husband, said on an early morning news show Tuesday that the kidnapping was real and their client was raped.
Henry M. Coxe III, who represents Gray's co-defendant, Jasmin Osmanovic, was in a St. Johns County courtroom two hours later to tell the judge he'd heard enough.
Coxe told Circuit Judge Wendy W. Berger he "could care less" if Gray's attorneys want to discuss her legal difficulties or mental health problems on national television.
But he wants them to stop speaking publicly "of offenses that the state agrees my client is not guilty of."
Their public announcements, Coxe added, are affecting Osmanovic's ability to get a fair trial.
At Coxe's request, Berger scheduled a hearing for 1:30 p.m. Friday so she could hear arguments for and against what would amount to a mini-gag order.
Berger also scheduled another pre-trial hearing for Jan. 5 for Gray and Osmanovic.
Coxe had asked that the two not be called to court at the same time.
Osmanovic is on the 9 a.m. docket; Gray is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Gray, 37, and Osmanovic, 25, are charged with trying to extort money from her husband, Reid Gray, by faking her kidnapping Labor Day weekend.
Police say the two spent the weekend at a Jacksonville motel.
They face 15 years in prison for extortion, a second-degree felony.
Gray is being treated at a St. Simons Island, Ga., mental health center as a condition of her $200,000 bail.
Berger denied Osmanovic's Oct. 26 request to reduce his $100,000 bond to $50,000. He is being held in the St. Johns County jail.
Osmanovic was in court for his Tuesday morning hearing. Gray was allowed to stay in St. Simons and not attend her hearing. Her husband, however, was there, sitting in the spectator section.
Gray's attorneys told Matt Lauer on the Today show Tuesday morning that their client "had no relationship with this Bosnian, Osmanovic, prior to Labor Day weekend."
Mark Miller and Rick Jancha claimed Osmanovic planned the abduction by "misdelivering a package" to the Gray home, then returning in a few days to retrieve it.
According to Miller, "There is an extensive amount of history" of mental illness on Quinn Gray's side of the family.
"That's one of the reasons it was untreated and undiagnosed," he told Lauer. "Quinn has grown up with a stigma against recognizing what she was going through.
"She self-medicated for much of her adult life with alcohol. That led to an alcohol abuse problem."
At the time Osmanovic allegedly concocted a scheme to kidnap Gray, "She was in a manic phase of her bipolar disorder," said Miller. "Her reaction to the kidnapping ... (may) seem bizarre. It's all explained by her mental illness."
Without specifying the differences, Miller said the State Attorney's Office and St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar "don't necessarily share the same opinion about what happened that weekend."
He also said near the end of the interview with Lauer, "It is stunning that the sheriff is coming out and saying that he still believes this is a kidnapping."
Shoar said the opposite is true.
He said in his interview for the Today show that, "It's all a hoax."
"It became more and more evident ... really, to everybody involved in it, it was something far more complex and involved than a kidnapping," the sheriff said.
As for differences between him and the prosecution, Shoar said Tuesday evening that he talked to State Attorney R.J. Larizza earlier in the day, "And we don't know what (Miller) is talking about."
He and Larizza are "on the same sheet of music," said Shoar.
"I'm here to tell you it's not a kidnapping," he added. "I don't know where they got that from."
Source: St. Augustine Record