Defense strategies are emerging in the upcoming case of The Station co-owner Michael Derderian, who faces 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter for his alleged role in the West Warwick, R.I., nightclub fire.
Defense attorney Richard Egbert told Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan that a memorandum by former West Warwick Fire Marshal Denis Larocque will be disputed if prosecutors introduce it at the September 5th trial in Providence.
“Let there be no doubt about his credibility being questioned,” Egbert said, according to The Providence Journal. “The document on its face appears fraudulent.”
Larocque calculated the club’s capacity at 404 in 2000 by classifying the entire venue as standing room only. He told a grand jury the capacity was raised at the behest of Michael Derderian.
The fire marshal does not have the original memorandum he wrote to the police chief discussing the new limit, but prosecutor Randall White presented a reprint of the memorandum, taken from Larocque’s computer about three years after it was written, the Journal said.
Darigan said that regardless of the memorandum’s authenticity, Larocque will be allowed to testify.
Meanwhile, Derderian’s attorneys are expected to argue that the club owner cannot be held responsible for The Station being overcrowded because he was not there the night of February 20, 2003.
Michael Derderian and his brother, Jeffrey – who also owned the club – each face involuntary manslaughter charges in separate trials.
One hundred people died at The Station after the tour manager for