ARCHIVE 7/3/08: Benoit Wikipedia Hacker: What Happened to the Police Video?

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I’m waiting for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office to send me the video it says it received of the Stamford Police Department’s interrogation last summer of Matthew T. Greenberg, the hacker who made an eerily accurate edit of Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia bio some 14 hours before the Benoit family’s three dead bodies were discovered.

Benoit Wikipedia Hacker: What Happened to the Police Video?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

I’m waiting for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office to send me the video it says it received of the Stamford Police Department’s interrogation last summer of Matthew T. Greenberg, the hacker who made an eerily accurate edit of Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia bio some 14 hours before the Benoit family’s three dead bodies were discovered.

For the full background, see “Benoit and Wikipedia (Yes, Again),” June 17, http://muchnick.net/babylon/2008/06/17/benoit-and-wikipedia-yes-again/.

The Greenberg video “is subject to open records,” sheriff’s attorney Rick Lindsey reconfirmed to me this week, adding: “I’ll let [Detective] Ethon [Harper] respond as to the date he can get it to [Lindsey for forwarding to public information applicants].”

In three weeks of responses so far to my request for the video, sheriff’s officers have added yet another chapter to an unfortunate legacy of obfuscation in the Benoit double homicide/suicide investigation.

A report by Detective Josh Shelton, published as a “supplemental” to Harper’s February 2008 case summary, tosses off the Wikipedia angle in a cluster of words as terse as they are ill-chosen. Shelton says “a copy of the interview” of Greenberg is “included in the case file.” Last July the Stamford Advocate reported that the interview of the then-unnamed hacker was on videotape. The existence of the video was verified in my own recent conversation with Captain Richard Conklin of the Stamford PD.

“Would be glad to help,” Shelton emailed me on June 12 when I requested to talk to him about the Wikipedia probe.

The next day Shelton, while referring me to sheriff’s attorney Lindsey, said, “I am working on collecting these items.” (I requested both the Greenberg video and a report on a search of his computer by the Stamford PD, which Shelton’s supplemental erroneously says is “attached.”)

On June 24 attorney Lindsey emailed me, “Still waiting for the video.”

On June 25 Lindsey wrote, “As I understand it the Sheriff does not have a copy but is getting it from the law enforcement agency which conducted the interview.”

On June 26 Lindsey wrote, “The Sheriff is still waiting on those [requested open records].”

On June 27 Lindsey wrote that the video “was not lost on this end. If I understand what happened, this task (of reviewing the videotape) was delegated by Ethon to another detective. Ethon believed that the review was done when, I believe, the other detective simply discussed the results of the interview with the law enforcement agent in Conn and did not actually view the tape. To my knowledge, FCSO never had possession of the videotape” (parentheses in original). Lindsey added, “Ethon is trying to get the tape for you.”

On July 1 Detective Harper had a new explanation: “We have had and still do have the video they sent us. The video cuts out after just a couple of minutes, so there is no recorded interview. Det. Shelton spoke directly with [Stamford] Det. [Tim] Dolan and Matthew Greenberg and had first hand knowledge from both perspectives.”

I reemphasized my request for the video, without regard for whatever Harper maintains it does or doesn’t contain. I also left a message for Stamford’s Captain Conklin to see what he has to say about Harper’s description of the video as botched.

Irv Muchnick

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