Pretrial motions hearing held in Mark Whitaker case

Portsmouth Councilman Mark Whitaker. Credit: WAVY-TV 10

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A pretrial motions hearing was held Monday in the case of indicted Portsmouth City Councilman Mark Whitaker.

Whitaker is facing 20 felony charges, including identity fraud and forgery, after a special grand jury indicted him in April. According to the indictment, it appears the councilman is accused of forging the names of three different people.

10 On Your Side confirmed in March that the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Treasury Department were asked to assist a special grand jury in an investigation.

The investigation centered around Whitaker’s Church, Bethel Baptist, and its ties to a failed credit union.

New judge assigned to Mark Whitaker case

A judge decided Monday that Whitaker’s Defense counsel will not get access to the video from outside the special grand jury deliberations, and will not receive investigator’s notes from that special grand jury.

Whitaker’s defense alleges there was improper contact between special grand jurors, the Commonwealth and the investigators. The defense wanted to review the video to see if there was evidence of this contact.

The Commonwealth argued the defense cannot subpoena evidence from a party to the case, since the sheriff’s department is part of the case and they run the courthouse security.

The defense also motioned to have access to the investigator’s notes from the special grand jury.

Whitaker’s defense claims the Commonwealth’s Attorney originally asked for those notes, but pulled their request once the defense asked for the notes — and requested they be sealed along with the grand jury notes.

His defense indicated Monday there may be a motion made in the near future to quash the indictment or throw out the charges.

The trial is expected to begin Nov. 13. Stay with for continuing coverage of this case.