Frankfort Village Attorney Testifies in Cop's Felony Domestic Battery Case

The attorney for the Village of Frankfort said he saw no reason to share a secret audio recording with the police department that charged one of his town's cops with felony domestic battery.

Donald Walsh. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
Donald Walsh. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department
The Frankfort village attorney said he did not consider sharing a secret audio recording with Mokena police investigating a domestic battery complaint against a Frankfort cop.

"I had no reason to give that to Mokena," attorney David Silverman testified at a Friday morning hearing.

Silverman said a Frankfort police officer acquired the tape during an internal disciplinary investigation of one of her colleagues. The officer under investigation,  Donald Walsh, 30, had been arrested in July 2012 and charged with the aggravated domestic battery and domestic battery of his girlfriend, Jillian Fredericks.

A month and a half before the incident, Fredericks secretly recorded a telephone call with Walsh. Fredericks said Walsh threatened her during the call.

The recording was not used during Walsh's disciplinary hearing. The Frankfort police held onto it for a year and a half and did not share it with Mokena.

The officer who took possession of the recording from Fredericks, Leanne Bender, said she "did not want to cause any more trouble for" Fredericks.

The recording only came to light when Fredericks' sister, Michelle Wawerski, told special prosecutor Dave Neal about it after the trial's first day Nov. 20. Wawerski said she let Neal know because she was bothered by the way defense attorney Steven Haney was portraying Walsh during the trial and she wanted people to hear what Walsh is "really like."

During a Thursday hearing, Will County Judge Edward Burmila raised the issue of whether Fredericks committed a felony by surreptitiously recording her boyfriend. Neal said he was certain she had not.

"The people have reviewed and listened to the 44-minute phone conversation, have spoken to the victim regarding the reason for regarding the phone conversation, and it's our opinion it fits squarely into an exception of the hearsay statute," Neal said.

The exception Neal cited allows secret recording if the person being recorded is "committing, is about to commit, or has committed a criminal offense against the person (making the recording) or a member of his or her immediate household, and there is reason to believe that evidence of the criminal offense may be obtained by the recording."

Haney said he wants two more witnesses, both police officers, to testify about the recording next week.

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