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Magistrate against stack of motions in Aisenberg case

But he partially grants three motions for the couple accused of lying about their baby's disappearance.


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2000

TAMPA -- A U.S. magistrate has denied or recommended denial of 13 motions filed by defense attorneys for Steven and Marlene Aisenberg, who are awaiting trial on charges of lying about the disappearance of their daughter Sabrina in 1997.

Most of the motions concern legal objections to the charges filed by the government last year.

The judge, U.S. Magistrate Mark A. Pizzo, partially granted three defense motions. One concerned a request to exceed a 20-page limit for written motions. One was a request to obtain information about polygraph tests that law enforcement administered to the Aisenbergs shortly after they reported Sabrina missing. The third sought the right to file additional pretrial motions as developments dictate.

There was no ruling Wednesday about two of the Aisenbergs' most provocative motions. One of those seeks dismissal of the charges on claims of prosecutorial misconduct before the grand jury. The other asks the judge to throw out secretly made tapes of the Aisenbergs talking in their former Brandon residence, claiming law enforcement lied to obtain a judge's permission to make the tapes.

The Aisenbergs are scheduled to go to trial in July. But defense attorneys have asked the judge for a later date.

Despite a massive search of Brandon neighborhoods and lakes, investigators never found Sabrina. They say they think the couple harmed their daughter. But authorities acknowledge they lack the evidence to bring a murder charge against the couple.

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