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Aisenbergs seek more time to review tapes

A lawyer says it would take about 50 days to listen to all of the couple's conversations taped by authorities.

By LARRY DOUGHERTY

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 1999


TAMPA -- Defense attorneys for Steven and Marlene Aisenberg are asking a judge for more time to review 214 audiotapes that investigators secretly made of the Aisenbergs talking inside their Brandon home, according to a court motion filed Thursday.

The volume of recorded conversations, along with the hundreds of pages of documents accumulated by prosecutors, will prevent defense attorneys from meeting prearranged deadlines, the motion said.

"If an attorney listened to all 214 tapes non-stop, for eight hours a day, it would take approximately 50 work days to review every recorded conversation," the motion said.

Prosecutors provided the tapes to the defense as a routine part of pretrial discovery. The tapes will not be made public until either prosecutors or defense attorneys use them as evidence in a motion or at trial.

The Aisenbergs reported the disappearance of their 5-month-old daughter, Sabrina, in November 1997, saying they believed a stranger had crept into their home and kidnapped the child. State and federal investigators soon suspected the Aisenbergs were involved in the disappearance and planted a listening device in their home.

The Aisenbergs appeared on a number of network news programs to state their innocence and plead for their daughter's return. She has never been found.

In September a federal grand jury indicted the couple on charges of lying to police when they made their kidnapping report. The indictment quoted excerpts from the recorded conversations suggesting Steven Aisenberg had caused his daughter's death and Marlene Aisenberg had helped cover it up.

A trial date has not been set.

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