Denise Williams defense team contemplating change of venue

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 9, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Denise Williams' defense team is conducting a controversial phone survey as it considers a change of venue.

Denise Williams appeared in court Friday morning for an emergency hearing.

Her defense attorney, Ethan Way, commissioned a phone survey to try to find out if people in Tallahassee have already made up their minds about her guilt or innocence.

That data will help him decide whether he should request a change of venue.

Prosecutors say the survey crossed the line and could have tainted the jury pool.

Attorneys on both sides told the judge Friday they have agreed on a new set of questions that can be asked in those phone surveys.

The defense attorney says he intends to survey 400 potential jurors and told the judge if they ultimately decide to request a change of venue it wold likely come during or after a November 20th pre-trial hearing.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 8, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Prosecutors are seeking an emergency court order in the murder trial of Denise Williams.

Williams is accused in the murder of her husband Michael Williams back in December 2000 and is set to go on trial in December.

The motion, filed late Wednesday, asks a judge for a protective order to stop the defense from conducting phone surveys of potential jurors, which they claim go beyond asking questions about the case to relaying facts about it.

Court documents show the motion was filed after an Assistant State Attorney received information from a Leon County resident that they had received a phone call asking them a series of questions about the Williams case.

The motion contends that after the questions, the caller then proceeded to give a rundown of the facts of the case.

Prosecutor Jon Fuchs calling that "reckless" and claiming "it violates the sanctity of the court."

That same court document states that Denise Williams' defense attorney Ethan Way admitted to hiring a group to conduct the survey, but denied telling the caller to read the facts of the case. Way, the motion says, said he hired a company to conduct the survey for purposes of potentially seeking a Change of Venue.

A hearing has been scheduled for Friday morning to discuss the claims and the request to stop the survey.

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