MILLER: Prosecution rests in trial for D.C. man charged for one shotgun shell

Mark Witaschek faces six months in jail for unregistered ammunition but no gun

continued from page 1

(Click to read the second story in this series about the pre-trial hearings that angered Mr. Gest because I did not mention the unfounded accusations of domestic violence.)

Mr. Gest replied that “Mr. Nathan and our prosecutors believe this is in the interest of public safety” because  Mr. Witaschek had been “accused of domestic violence.” 

Character Defamation

The spokesman attempted to defame Mr. Witaschek’s character: “Are you aware of his history? That he threatened to kill his ex-wife, and she tried to get a protection order against him?”

Mr. Witaschek’s ex-wife, Gabriella Landinez, told police in May 2012 that her estranged husband had unregistered firearms in the home, and he said that he said he would kill her on the phone one time.

The police never seemed to have investigated the matter. Mr. Witaschek denies ever having guns in D.C. and making a threat. 

A temporary protection order was granted ex parte (without Mr. Witaschek answering the complaint.)

But in court, Judge Jose Lopez denied Ms. Landinez’s request for a civil protection order (CPO) (and financial support) in Aug. 2012, saying there was no evidence of a threatening phone call.

“There’s no history of violence in this family,” the judge said. “There is no history of that type of manipulation in this family to lead to any inference that he would have said that statement…”

Mr. Landinez testified for the government in the ammunitions trial. In an interview Sunday night, she told me that she stands behind her testimony that her ex husband had firearms in the District. 

“It’s a lie to say he never had guns in D.C. We had guns in the house on Q Street,” she said. “I saw at least three rifles and at least two shotguns — inside and outside the safe. And he always had a handgun on the night table.”

However, Mr. Witaschek told me that his estranged wife never lived in the house on Q Street, nor was she ever in his house. 

Anyway, I asked Mr. Gest why he wanted me to write about Ms. Landinez’s charges of the threatening phone call, especially considering Mr. Witaschek has no criminal history.

“I’m telling you about why we are bringing charges,” the government’s spokesman replied. “That is a major part of evidence.”

I pointed out that the prosecutors shouldn’t bring up unfounded accusations in court.

Story Continues →

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