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Judge denies Cooper request for FBI procedures

Posted August 27, 2010

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— A Superior Court judge on Friday denied defense attorneys' request for FBI procedures used to examine computer files of a Cary man accused of killing his wife more than two years ago.

Brad Cooper is set to go to trial Oct. 25 for the July 2008 death of his wife, Nancy Cooper. His attorney, Howard Kurtz, argued Friday that the defense is entitled to the information to prepare its case.

"It is the most difficult task in the world to cross-examine an expert without having the expertise yourself," Kurtz told Judge Paul Gessner.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger argued that federal investigators use the same methods when looking at other cases, such as terrorism and child pornography.

Turning it over, they argued, could compromise the FBI's ability to investigate future cases.

"This is not germane to the case and is simply a fishing expedition," Zellinger said.

He added that prosecutors have already turned over evidence to the defense team that outlines how the state examined Cooper's computers and what they found.

"There's nothing about this information that's privileged," Kurtz countered. "There's nothing about it that jeopardizes national security."

Attorneys were also supposed to argue a motion for a change of trial venue, but it was continued until Sept. 10.

Cooper's attorneys filed a 23-page document last week citing local news reports, specifically those of WRAL News and The News & Observer, that they believe could keep their client from getting a fair trial in Wake County.

According to the motion, "extensive pre-trial publicity" might give jurors "preconceived impressions" of the case. Cooper's attorneys called the coverage of his case "inflammatory" and "prejudiced" regarding his potential guilt.

As police investigated Nancy Cooper's homicide in 2008, her family successfully fought a public battle for custody of the couple's two daughters. It included testimony from family and friends who asserted their beliefs that Brad Cooper killed his wife and claims that he had been emotionally abusive to her in the weeks leading to her death.

Days after Nancy Cooper was found, Brad Cooper's attorneys held a news conference to defend him against what they called "wild speculation" and "bizarre unsupported theories" on TV and Internet blogs.

They subsequently set up a website about the case, and in September 2008, posted surveillance videos, copies of receipts and photos of their client in an effort to dispute the allegations of Nancy Cooper's family and friends.

Cooper was arrested more than a month later and charged with first-degree murder.

He told investigators that his wife went jogging on the morning of July 12, 2008, and never returned home.

A man walking his dog two days later found the 34-year-old mother-of-two's body in an undeveloped subdivision less than three miles from the Coopers’ Lochmere home.

An autopsy determined that she had likely been strangled.


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  • watchdq Aug 27, 2010

    Well I guess there must be a strong case against him, if the prosecution is citing risk to national security to deny defense request for testing procedures.

  • tenderheart1788 Aug 27, 2010

    Cooper's attorneys filed a 23-page document last week citing local news reports, specifically those of WRAL News and The News & Observer, that they believe could keep their client from getting a fair trial in Wake County.

    This is the reason I will never serv on a jury here in N.C. The N&O and the WRAL have a good track record on poisoning a jury pool.

  • Chatham Adam Aug 27, 2010

    This guy was already tried and convicted in the local press, thanks to the entense media blitz orchestrated by the prominent Raleigh law firm representing the deceased wife's family during the child custody battle. Send the case to Greensboro or Charlotte for trial. That way, if the guy is convicted, he won't have the "media-tainted jury" argument to raise on appeal.

  • howdiditgettothis Aug 27, 2010

    "It is the most difficult task in the world to cross-examine an expert without having the expertise yourself," Howard Kurtz said.

    Well - DUH! You are supposed to be hire your own expert for the defense.

    I have to agree with the prosecution. He is just fishing for anything to push the court date back.

    And for those of you who say "he hasn't been convicted yet....."
    you need to re-read the information that is already available -- and look at the history of Wake County in high profile murder cases. They aren't going to court unless they have an airtight case.

  • BigUNCFan Aug 27, 2010

    Stop whining Brad, if you could not do the time then you shouldn't have done the crime. Get ready for a cell with Bubba.

  • cth1 Aug 27, 2010

    "The truth will come out in the end. Always does...jscott13"

    There's ALWAYS a chance he will be found Not Guilty (look at OJ)!! From the evidence I've seen (or lack of) there doesn't seem to be a strong case. There may be more evidence they're holding until the trial...I don't know. It's not my place to judge Mr. Cooper and I think he deserves to have his trial in a location that's NOT tainted my the media and/or opinions of Nancy's friends and family. It's hard to change a persons mind (like yourself) once they believe someone is guilty of such a horrific crime!

  • jscott13 Aug 27, 2010

    JAT I missed your comment...sorry. I beg to differ...several of them work. They did believe her. How do you stop something like that from happening. It is tough for most rational minds to conceive of a husband going to such extremes to get rid of a wife. I always assume that people will do the right thing, but I am fast becoming disillusioned, having had a neighbor murder his wife...and then Cooper who also lives nearby and was around all the time.

  • jscott13 Aug 27, 2010

    cth1...trust me, he will be found guilty. I am not trying him...I am simply stating what the outcome will be. I am happy to see that the judge has denied what will turn into a long list of idiotic motions by the defense, all intended to muddy the waters. The truth will come out in the end. Always does.

  • missparrothead Aug 27, 2010

    Yes- there are folks in this area that do not know about this case. I do know people around here that do not read our local newspaper or watch TV. Strange, but true.

    After following the Cooper story, neither Brad nor Nancy were exactly saints. Both of their actions snowballed to the point of a very messy/bad relationship. Its very sad. Hopefully the children will not suffer.

  • anti-Hans Aug 27, 2010

    This is one case I would love to sit on the jury. I have seen this case from the beginning, read the search warrants, read the affadavits, and would consider myself fairly educated on this topic.

    Can I make an impartial decision? 100% sure of it. I have seen evidence that he probably did it or had a hand in it. I have also seen evidence that he did not. Show me the facts and I can make a decision based on the evidence.