Brad Cooper fights back in custody battle

July 24, 2008 8:13:08 AM PDT
Attorneys for Brad Cooper are invoking the Ann Miller murder case in a bid to get statements made by Nancy Cooper before her murder.

Read affidavits submitted by Nancy Cooper's friends

Read Brad Cooper's affidavit

Read the Cooper separation agreement

In a motion filed in the custody battle over the Coopers' children, Brad Cooper's attorneys claim that one of the attorneys representing Nancy Cooper's parents also represented Nancy -- apparently in a possible divorce action against her husband.

The attorney, Alice Stubbs, is a former Wake district court judge.

In the latest document filed, in the fight over custody of the Cooper children, Brad claims Nancy "?also had an extra-marital relationship while married to me. Nancy insisted that she did nothing wrong, that her relationship with the other man only happened once, it wasn't sexual, and that one even knew his name."

In 2004, the state supreme court ruled that attorney-client privilege doesn't always survive death.

The ruling came in the highly publicized murder of Eric Miller. Police had suspected his wife, Ann, of arsenic poisoning but had only circumstantial evidence.

Derrill Willard, a man believed to be an accomplice in the poisoning committed suicide. But before he killed himself, he told his story to attorney Rick Gammon. Gammon refused to tell authorities what Willard told him, invoking attorney-client privilege.

However, the supreme court forced Gammon to turn over one page of an affidavit detailing what Willard told him. That one page pointed the finger at Ann Miller and sent her to prison after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Brad Cooper's attorneys, based on that ruling, say Stubbs should have to reveal what Nancy Cooper told Stubbs before her murder. They also want Stubbs removed as counsel for Garry and Donna Rentz and Nancy's twin sister, Krista Lister. They say Stubbs should be disqualified from the case because of conflict of interest rules.

Last weel the Rentzs and Lister were granted emergency temporary custody of the Cooper's two daughters, ages two and four. That was just days after Nancy Cooper was found murdered not far from her home in Cary's Lochmere subdivision.

Police believe Brad was the last person to see his wife. He says she went jogging at 7 a.m. and never returned. But it was one of her friends, not Brad, who reported her missing almost seven hours later. Police used a warrant to search the Coopers' home and cars and to obtain DNA from Brad.

In the original emergency custody case, the Rentzs claim Brad is unstable and might harm or abduct the children.

They also say they believe Nancy never went jogging. Brad's attorneys have called all that "wild speculation." They have also asked that Nancy's autopsy results be released saying, "This information is critical to Brad Cooper's ability to challenge Plaintiff's unsubstantiated insinuations that he played a role in Ms. Cooper's death."


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