WATERVILLE — The Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been fined $2,500 due to an evidence violation in a child sex crime case.
Judge Brian Huber imposed the financial sanction March 7 because of prosecutors’ “ongoing failure to disclose evidence” in a case against Michael Joshua Berggren, a 41-year-old East Wenatchee man.
Berggren’s defense attorney, Brandon Redal, filed a motion Feb. 17 for the court to impose sanctions and suppress any evidence not yet disclosed as of Feb. 17, as well as attorney’s fees because investigators failed to provide all evidence 11 months after Berggren was initially charged.
Redal said in his motion that investigators had not provided evidence required as part of discovery, including written statements from the alleged victim, text messages and other messages shared through Instagram and collected by detectives.
Huber denied Redal’s motion to suppress evidence but did impose a requirement that any undisclosed evidence be turned over to Redal by March 21. Huber also provided specific requirements for the disclosure of any evidence collected from Berggren’s phone.
Investigators say Berggren raped and molested a young girl in July 2011 in Douglas County and from 2012 to 2017 in Chelan County, according to probable cause affidavits filed in the counties’ superior courts.
He’s charged in Chelan County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of first-degree child molestation, and in Douglas County Superior Court with one count of first-degree child rape, two counts of second-degree child rape and one count of first-degree child molestation.
The alleged victim brought the accusations against Berggren to authorities on March 23, 2022.
He was arrested March 25, 2022, and booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center. Berggren posted bail April 25, 2022, according to documents in superior court.
In Douglas County, bail was set at $400,000 at a preliminary appearance March 6, 2023. Bail amount set at $750,000 March 8 in Chelan County.
This was Redal’s second case in the last week involving improper handling of evidence. In a Wenatchee case involving alleged rape, Redal made a similar motion to suppress evidence obtained from his client’s phone, which a judge approved after the Chelan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office failed to comply with discovery requirements for at least three years.
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