In a recent ruling by Superior Court Judge Brian Huber, the Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been ordered to pay $2,500 in sanctions to defense attorney Brandon Redal after failing to turn over evidence in a sexual abuse case. The case involves Michael J. Berggren, a 41-year-old man from East Wenatchee who is charged with four counts of child rape and molestation based on text and Instagram messages that came to light last year.
Redal had requested the messages, which were collected by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, multiple times beginning in June, but the data was never provided. As a result, the judge ruled that the failure to disclose evidence violated court procedures, and ordered the messages to be turned over within the next two weeks. However, the judge did not suppress the messages as evidence in Berggren’s possible trial, as Redal had requested.
Prosecuting Attorney Gordon Edgar acknowledged the failure to disclose the evidence and expressed a desire to fix any flaws in the system. Meanwhile, Berggren is facing similar charges in Chelan County, where he is accused of sexually assaulting the child victim in both jurisdictions. He is currently free on a $750,000 bond.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Redal has won a judicial ruling against local prosecutors for failing to disclose evidence during discovery. Just last week, a Chelan County judge agreed to suppress evidence in a rape case after the prosecutor's office failed to provide relevant cellphone evidence, leading to dismissal of the criminal charges.