Nasons denied new trial
By Eric Dolson
Judge Michael Sullivan has denied motions for a new trail for Diane and Dennis Nason. The Nasons were convicted of forgery and racketeering last November after the longest and probably most expensive jury trial in Oregon's history.
The trial followed the collapse of the Nason family of more than 70 adopted children, many with severe disabilities, from around the world. The Nasons were acquitted of charges related to the deaths of three of those children.
The forgery and racketeering guilty verdicts were for falsification of medical documents provided by the Nasons when they were trying to find homes for dozens of children as the family began to crumble under the weight of sinking finances and Diane's failing health.
Diane Nason was also convicted of impeding an investigation by the county health department into the continued existence of Shigella in the Nason home, the disease which killed two of her children during one week in 1985.
In addition to denying motions from attorneys representing both Dennis and Diane Nason for a new trial, Judge Sullivan also denied a request from Diane's attorney, David Glenn, to subpoena the jury foreman.
The subpoena request followed a newspaper interview in which the foremen said the jury felt compelled to find the Nasons guilty of racketeering since they were found guilty of two or more of the forgery charges.
The racketeering is the key conviction in the case. Prosecutor Kathleen Payne-Pruitt had suggested she would introduce a wide variety of witnesses to show the damage the racketeering caused its victims.
Payne-Pruitt indicated she could need as long as four days to present her sentencing arguments. Judge Sullivan, who had said earlier he did not intend to rehear evidence provided during the trial, will give her two days.
The defense contends that sentencing, now scheduled for February 6, could be done in one day, and argues that the racketeering charge should carry no more weight than the forgeries upon which it is based. This could bring the Nasons a suspended sentence or probation.