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Attorney pleads not guilty in contempt case

December 27, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg attorney indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury on a charge of criminal contempt entered a not guilty plea last week, according to attorneys involved in her defense.

Heidi J. Silver Myers, 28, of 1314 W. King St., entered a not guilty plea to the indictment in an arraignment hearing Wednesday in front of U.S. Magistrate David J. Joel in Martinsburg,

A trial scheduled by Joel is set to begin with jury selection Feb. 20 at 8:30 a.m. in Wheeling, W.Va., according to records.

"It's not likely to go to trial," said William P. Moffitt, one of three attorneys involved in Myers' defense.

Moffitt offered no other comment regarding the case, but attorney Kevin Mills confirmed Tuesday that he and Moffitt's partner, Pleasant Brodnax based in Washington, D.C., appeared with Myers for her arraignment last week, which came seven days after the indictment was filed Dec. 13 in U.S. District Court.

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"She is fully anticipating litigating the case," Mills said. "She asserts her clear innocence."

Myers was processed by federal authorities on Dec. 6, the day after she had been ordered by a federal grand jury seated in Wheeling to appear in court and produce closed case files and computerized records on a "Tower type server" and backup hard drive, according to records.

Since then, Mills confirmed that pretrial defense motions had been filed to unseal a search warrant affidavit and a warrant transcript and to quash a grand jury subpoena.

Case file records show assistant U.S. Attorney Paul T. Camilletti also filed a motion to extend the amount of time the government has to answer the defense motions until Jan. 20.

According to the West Virginia State Bar membership directory, Myers was admitted to practice law in October 2003. Mills said she began her legal career in Berkeley County and her law office - Myers Law Group - is at 235 S. Queen St. in Martinsburg.

Myers practice includes work as a court-appointed attorney in the 23rd Judicial Circuit, which includes Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

Court-appointed attorneys, also known as public defenders, typically are asked by a judge to handle cases on behalf of people who claim financial hardship after they are arrested for a crime. Those accused of a crime have a constitutional right to an attorney.

John A. Rogers, executive director of West Virginia Public Defender Services, declined to comment on Myers' case.

If convicted of criminal contempt, Myers faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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