A federal wiretapping lawsuit against former Jeffco commissioner Jim Congrove became more interesting June 26 when a defendant in the case settled with the plaintiff and agreed to testify against Congrove and the other defendants.
Mike Zinna, a longtime county critic, is suing Congrove, private investigator Daril Cinquanta, former deputy county attorney Duncan Bradley and Robert Cook in federal court. Zinna alleges the men illegally intercepted his personal e-mails and posted them to a website used to defame Zinna.
Cinquanta, a private investigator who has been hired by the county at various times for investigative work, settled with Zinna on June 26 and is no longer a defendant in the case. While the settlement is confidential, it includes an agreement for Cinquanta to testify against Congrove, Bradley and Cook. A financial payout may have been involved as well.
Zinna declined to discuss the terms of the settlement, but he did offer a statement via e-mail.
"As the county’s former private investigator specifically hired to dig up dirt on me, Daril will be a devastating witness against his old bosses," Zinna said. "Daril knows everything from the inside, and he joins the long parade of current and former county officials who are now cooperating with me in our team effort to finally end the debate about where to place the blame for the corruption that infests Jefferson County government."
Congrove has been battling a medical condition since January and isn't available for comment, according to his wife.
Cinquanta, when reached by phone June 26, said, "I can't talk about it."
Writer Mott, the county attorney who has been monitoring the case since it was filed in 2006, said the settlement shouldn't impact the case in any significant way.
"I don't think it changes anything," Mott said, "other than it makes Daril a witness rather than a party."
Mott said Zinna will likely call Cinquanta as a witness during the trial, which is set for 10 days at the end of November.
"Daril's already been deposed twice and denied any knowledge of wiretapping or the website," Mott said. "That was under oath. I don't know how he could change that now."
Mott said that if Cinquanta were to add anything to his previous testimony or change his previous testimony in any way, "it would be hard for his testimony to have any credibility."