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Witness: DHB e-mail used against me is forgery

Former DHB chief financial officer Dawn Schlegel leaves

Former DHB chief financial officer Dawn Schlegel leaves federal court in Central Islip earlier this month. As a witness for the prosecution, she is under fire from the defense team of her former DHB boss David Brooks who is charged with looting the body armor company. (March 17, 2010) Credit: Ed Betz

The main federal witness against former Westbury body-armor magnate David Brooks strongly suggested Monday that the key four sentences in a lengthy e-mail introduced by the defense to discredit her testimony were a forgery.

The witness, Dawn Schlegel, the former chief financial officer of Brooks' DHB Industries, had said under previous questioning by a federal prosecutor that the only time she had been unfaithful to her husband was a one-night stand with a co-worker.

In an attempt to undermine Schlegel's general credibility Monday, Brooks' chief defense attorney, Kenneth Ravenell, questioned Schlegel about an e-mail she had supposedly sent on a company computer to the male co-worker. The four sentences in the e-mail apparently discussed a second sexual encounter she had with the co-worker.

Schlegel said that the sentences about the supposed second sexual encounter had been added to the wording of an actual e-mail she had sent to the co-worker about her feelings about him and their relationship. She did not say by whom or how she thought the wording had been added.

U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert had allowed the questioning of Schlegel about the e-mail over the objections of federal prosecutor Christopher Ott.

Ott had argued that the e-mail was not contained in any of the comprehensive downloads from DHB computers the company had sent to the government, that the e-mail address of the co-worker was incorrect, and that one of the type faces and the formatting did not match that of the standard DHB e-mails.

Seybert, who has said in a court order that the defense method of attacking Schlegel's sexual relations smacked of McCarthyism, allowed the questioning about the e-mail to go forward after Ravenell said he had a good-faith basis to believe that the e-mail was genuine and had come from a company computer. Ravenell also said he resented being linked to the late Wisconsin senator whose tactics have often been discredited.

Schlegel said the wording of the e-mail appeared to be hers except for the sentences about the second sexual encounter.

Under questioning by Ott, Schlegel said the last time she saw her personal DHB computer was in the Old Westbury home office of David Brooks. Schlegel said at that time Brooks' brother, Jeffrey, had asked her for her password and she had given it to him. Ravenell declined to comment on the situation Monday.

Brooks is charged with having the company illegally pay for almost $5 million in personal expenses as well as with making $185 million in a fraud scheme involving DHB stock. Federal prosecutors have argued that a DHB board resolution saying the company should pay for Brooks' personal expenses is a forgery.


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