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The Daily Tar Heel

Edwards' Defense Case Likely Won't Be Considered

Judge William Griffin said that he probably will not consider part of the defense's claim that a January 2001 traffic stop in which Edwards was apprehended was illegitimate.

Public defender Steve Freedman is defending Edwards, who is charged with multiple felony counts, including one rape and two sexual assaults stemming from two December 2000 incidents in Carrboro and one incident in Chapel Hill in January 2001.

The purpose of the motions hearing, which began Tuesday and will continue today at 9 a.m. at Orange County Superior Court in Hillsborough, is to determine whether certain evidence will be admitted in Edwards' trial.

Prosecutor Jim Woodall finished his case for why the evidence -- primarily items confiscated during the traffic stop -- should be admitted Wednesday afternoon.

Freedman then opened his argument, asking the court for a motion to dismiss evidence gathered from the traffic stop and statements issued by Edwards following his arrest.

Griffin shut down Freedman's argument less than 30 minutes after he began. He told Freedman the traffic stop, which Carrboro police justified because Edwards' registration was expired, was appropriate, despite police testimony that Edwards' vehicle was put under surveillance prior to the stop. The judge also said the subsequent search of Edwards' vehicle was legal.

Freedman fired questions at Chapel Hill criminal investigator John Moore about the first interview that officials conducted with Edwards the day of his arrest, in which Edwards requested an attorney.

"I knew anything after that point would be dismissed so I laid my pen down, and we talked," Moore said.

Freedman, who said discussions between Moore, Edwards and Carrboro police are questionable, showed two 45-minute clips from the first and second interrogations on the day of the arrest. "In the first tape, we're going to contend that legally there was interrogation (after he requested a lawyer)," Freedman said.

Griffin said determining the admissibility of Edwards' statement would be difficult. No decisions will be made final until the hearing ends.

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.

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