Friday, Spectrum News received Judge Bartlett's response to letters filed to the Schoharie County Court by NTSB and DA Susan Mallery. The letters were requested in response to the supplemental search warrant filed by NYSP.
At one point Bartlett writes, "this standoff must come to an end."
Judge Bartlett says the district attorney "does not have exclusive control over the vehicle." He also responds to remarks Mallery made in a letter she filed, claiming the court was working in cooperation with the NTSB.
Judge Bartlett argues the DA's criminal investigation should cooperate with the work of the NTSB saying, "The District Attorney, in her zeal to perform her duties, fails to appreciate the important duties of the NTSB and its mandate to investigate this horrendous accident."
Judge Bartlett continues to make the point that the criminal investigation does not need to be completed before the NTSB can do its work. "To repeat, absent any prejudice articulated by the District Attorney, the public interest demands accede to the NTSB."
The court will be holding a conference on January 29, 2019 to see if "common ground" between interested parties can be worked out.
Mallery responded previously to a county judge after he intervened in a back and forth between the district attorney and the National Transportation Safety Board over the investigation into the crash that killed 20 people.
The limo remains at Troop G Headquarters in Latham and the amount of access the NTSB has had to it differs depending on whose account you listen to.
According to the NTSB, they have had virtually no access. But documents filed Wednesday by Schoharie County District Attorney Susan Mallery dispute that.
She claims the NTSB has set up an office at Troop G and have been present as the state police conducted several inspections.
As to a more thorough investigation, she said she has absolutely no objection to the NTSB inspecting the limo, but it has to happen at the proper time with the proper safeguards.
According to the documents, she worries the NTSB’s inspection protocol could lead to the removal of surface rust, or the frame and floor concealment panels.
Mallery also said she wanted to hold a joint press conference in December, but the NTSB declined to do so.
There’s no indication whether the two sides are any closer to an agreement.