Report: Surveillance video of lawmaker lost or destroyed

Former Rep. John Carnevale (right) appeared before the Providence Board of Canvassers in 2016. File photo by Anita Baffoni WPRO News


By the Associated Press and Tessa Roy, WPRO News

The lawyer for a former Rhode Island state representative charged with lying about where he lives says more than 1,400 hours of undercover surveillance video recorded by state police during the investigation have been lost or “destroyed.”

WPRI-TV reports that William Dimitri, attorney for Democratic former Providence Rep. John Carnevale, disclosed during a court hearing Friday that prosecutors informed him the footage was not backed up and was recorded over. Dimitri called it “inexcusable.”

Carnevale has pleaded not guilty to felony perjury charges and denies allegations he lied about living in Providence. WPRI reported he spent much of his time at a Johnston home outside his district.

State Police Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Philbin initially declined to comment due to the ongoing nature of the case, but later told WPRO that the video was actually lost in 2016 because the pole cameras installed to record at Carnevale’s Providence address were moved. At that point, Philbin said, police believed the criminal investigation was over, but further developments came later.

Philbin said pole cameras are “constantly” moved because they need to be used in other investigations.

Philbin said there was “absolutely” no foul play or security risks involved with the lost video, and said the revelation only came about on Friday because of Dimitri’s discussion in court. He said the State Police stand by their investigation and the charges brought against Carnevale.

Carnevale is seeking re-election to the House.

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