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Major events in the Aisenberg case

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Major events in the Aisenberg case

Post  milly on Sat 22 Oct - 1:02

Major events in the Aisenberg case
published February 22, 2001

1997

Nov. 24: Marlene Aisenberg calls 911 to report that her 5-month-old daughter, Sabrina, disappeared from her crib between midnight and 6:42 a.m.

Nov. 25: The FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement join the investigation as Hillsborough sheriff's divers search a pond behind the Bloomingdale subdivision where the Aisenbergs had lived since 1991. Deputies use dogs to search woods near the house but find no trace of the baby.

Nov. 26: After intense questioning by FBI agents and sheriff's detectives, the Aisenbergs hire prominent defense lawyer Barry Cohen. They stop talking to authorities about the night Sabrina disappeared, authorities say.

Dec. 23: In a prepared speech delivered at Cohen's downtown Tampa office, Marlene and Steve Aisenberg ask whoever had Sabrina to return her. That night, investigators would later allege in the indictment dismissed Wednesday, the couple talk about how Steve Aisenberg killed Sabrina and how they need to cover it up.

1998

Jan. 9: After shunning the media for almost six weeks after their baby vanished, the Aisenbergs begin a media tour with an interview with the St. Petersburg Times. In the days that follow, they appear on Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, Today, Oprah and Larry King Live, and meet with local news media.

Jan. 22: Hillsborough sheriff's investigators launch an unusual public counterattack, suggesting at a news conference that they had serious suspicions about the Aisenbergs.

1999

Early May: A neighbor of the Aisenbergs said that Steve had moved to his home state of Maryland and that his wife and children planned to follow.

Sept. 9: A federal grand jury indicts the Aisenbergs on charges of making false statements, accusing the couple of fabricating a kidnapping story in November 1997 to explain Sabrina's disappearance. The couple insists they are innocent.

Oct. 19: U.S. Magistrate Mark A. Pizzo rebuffs an effort by prosecutors to push Cohen from the case, ruling that the government failed to prove he was likely to be called as a witness at the Aisenbergs' trial.

2000

Jan. 11: Attorneys for Steven and Marlene Aisenberg insist that conversations secretly taped by investigators inside the couple's Brandon home contain none of the references to cocaine use and violence that prosecutors say are on the tape.

Sept. 28: U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday orders prosecutors to turn over transcripts of the proceedings of the grand jury that indicted the Aisenbergs.

Oct. 18: Detectives search a Pasco County home in the Willow Bend subdivision for Sabrina's remains. Homes in the subdivision were developed by Steven Aisenberg's former employer, M/I Homes.

Nov. 13: Merryday rules that the secretly recorded tapes of the Aisenbergs are "largely inaudible" and of poor quality.

Dec. 22: Hearings to determine whether taped conversations of the Aisenbergs should be used as evidence conclude.

2001

Feb. 14: Pizzo recommends the tapes be thrown out.

Feb. 16: Merryday asks Pizzo to consider whether the indictment should be dismissed.

Feb. 21: Federal prosecutors ask Merryday to dismiss the indictment because without the tapes "there is no longer a reasonable probability of conviction against the defendants."

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Re: Major events in the Aisenberg case

Post  milly on Sat 22 Oct - 1:02

Major figures in the Aisenberg case
published February 22, 2001

Steven Aisenberg, 37, met his wife while a junior at the University of Maryland. The couple settled in the Tampa area in 1991 to raise their three children. Was selling new homes for M/I Homes at the time of Sabrina's disappearance. Refused to talk to investigators. Accused by prosecutors of doing cocaine the night Sabrina disappeared, of having something to do with her disappearance and of lying to investigators. Moved his family to Maryland in 1999.

Marlene Aisenberg, 38, placed 911 call at 6:42 a.m. Nov. 24, 1997, to report Sabrina missing. Spent her days in Valrico as a homemaker while working 10 hours a week running Playtime Pals, a program for toddlers and their mothers. Refused to talk to investigators. Prosecutors charged her with lying to investigators and covering up for her husband. Said Wednesday from Maryland that she wants the search for Sabrina to continue.

Barry Cohen, 61, hired by the Aisenbergs in the days after Sabrina was reported missing. Advised his clients not to talk to investigators. Fended off an attempt by prosecutors to have him removed from the case. Said investigators had no evidence and were focusing entirely on his clients while ignoring other leads. His motions in federal court led to the move Wednesday to dismiss the case. Considered a top defense attorney in the area, Cohen has won other high-profile cases, including the acquittal of William A. LaTorre, a St. Petersburg chiropractor charged in the boating deaths of four teenagers in 1989.

Linda Sue Burton, 49, lead detective on the Sabrina case. Joined the Sheriff's Office in 1984 as an auxiliary deputy and in 1995 started the state's first Child Death Review Team. Honored in 1997 as officer of the year. Helped gain conviction of Pasco couple in 1996 on charges they tried to sell their newborn in a parking lot. Some of the charges against another couple charged with killing their baby were dropped after questions were raised about the evidence. She moved to bug the Aisenberg home and is accused by a federal magistrate of lying about the content of surveillance tapes gathered by those bugs. Was put on paid administrative leave Wednesday pending a criminal investigation into her conduct. Has not spoken publicly about the accusations.

William Blake, 52, a former bank vice president who joined the Sheriff's Office full-time in 1988. Joined criminal investigations bureau in 1994 and won plaudits in 1995 for arrests of seven gang members on crimes ranging from burglary to attempted murder. He was involved in the bugging of Aisenberg home and is accused by a federal magistrate of lying about the tapes. Was put on paid administrative leave pending a criminal investigation. Has not spoken publicly about the accusations.

Stephen Kunz, 51, lead prosecutor on the case, he presented evidence to the grand jury that indicted the Aisenbergs. Has called defense attorney Barry Cohen's representation of the Aisenbergs "reprehensible conduct" and tried to force Cohen off the case. His case was ravaged last week by a federal magistrate who accused detectives of using lies and distortions. Kunz worked on the Rev. Henry J. Lyons prosecution and on the prosecution of a militia member charged with scheming to blow up power lines. Has not spoken publicly about the magistrate's accusations in the Aisenberg case. His boss, U.S. Attorney Donna Bucella, has not spoken publicly about his conduct.

Rachelle DesVaux Bedke, 36, federal prosecutor who worked the case with Kunz. Said in court when the Aisenbergs were indicted that Steve Aisenberg talked of being high on cocaine the night Sabrina disappeared. No reference to cocaine was discerned on the tapes during reviews by a federal magistrate. Has not spoken publicly about the case. Her boss, Bucella, has not spoken publicly about her conduct.

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