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Motion filed raises conflict of interest questions in Rockford Officers’ cases

ROCKFORD (WREX) — A motion filed by the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office asks if there's a conflict of interest when it comes to the attorney representing two Rockford Police Officers.

Aaron Buscemi represents Rockford Police Officers Daniel Basile and Eric Thurmond in their separate court cases. Basile has plead not guilty to two counts of criminal sexual assault after an alleged rape in October. Meanwhile Thurmond has plead not guilty to charges of criminal sexual assault and unlawful restraint stemming from an alleged rape that happened in May.

On December 4th, the Winnebago County State's Attorney filed a "Motion for the Court to Determine Actual Conflict or a Serious Potential Conflict". The document states this request is to figure out if a conflict of interest could arise during Basile's trial due to Buscemi's representation of both Thurmond and Basile.

The document points to a connection Thurmond may have to Basile's court case. It states Basile's charges stem from an alleged assault that happened on or about October 10, 2019. The document goes on to say Thurmond was with Basile and the victim, Jane Doe, on that same day.

"Eric Thurmond was present at two separate bars with Jane Doe and Daniel Basile on or about October 10, 2019 prior to the offenses alleged."

The document goes on to say witnesses observed Basile and a friend of Thurmond's helping Jane Doe into Basile's car. The state argues Thurmond's presence that day could mean he is called as a witness by either the prosecution or defense in Basile's case.

"If called to testify his bias may be elicited in the fact that he has pending charges being prosecuted by the same office. In addition, the fact may be used to show bias."

The state also argues Basile would have an interest in having the undivided loyalty and attention of Buscemi.

"A potential serious conflict arises given defense counsel representation of this potential witness. This representation raises legitimate questions about Mr. Buscemi's ability to cross examine a witness he represents."

The document argues Buscemi's involvement with both clients might have an impact on the jury.

"Also it may give the appearance of impropriety if the jury learns that Mr. Buscemi represents the witness in connection with similar charges pending against him."

The document argues the public may have concerns if they learned Buscemi was allowed to represent both a witness and a defendant, concluding the trial is not fair or that the defense (Buscemi) is being allowed to behave unethically.

While this motion was entered into Basile's case, a similar motion was discussed during Thurmond's recent court date and could be filed in the future.

13 News reached out to Buscemi for a statement, however with the matter still pending in court his office said he could not comment at this time.

Basile and Thurmond will each be in court next week on separate court dates. 13 News will be there to bring you the latest developments.

Mary Sugden

Mary Sugden is the Investigative Reporter at WREX. She joined the team in December 2014 as the evening producer. In 2015 she made the move to evening reporter before joining the 13 Investigates team in May of 2018.

She grew up in Woodstock, Illinois and graduated from Woodstock High School in 2009. Mary graduated with a degree in Journalism and Marketing from Loyola University Chicago in 2013.

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