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Witnesses testify to 'mysteriously' disappearing evidence of wiped laptop in ex-Caldwell cop trial

Text messages shown in court reveal Hoadley told his supervisor he needed documents before they "mysteriously disappear." His attorney later filed for acquittal.

BOISE, Idaho — Testimony in the Joseph Hoadley trial, the ex-Caldwell cop charged with four federal crimes, continued on Wednesday where texts showed the former high-ranking officer could have wiped his laptop of evidence during an FBI investigation – “before they mysteriously disappear” he wrote in a text.

Hoadley has been charged with deprivation of rights under the color of the law, destruction, alteration or falsification of records in a federal investigation, tampering with a witness by harassment and tampering with documents. He pleaded not guilty to all four counts in August. 

RELATED: 'It was wrong' says witness, testimony continues for Ex-Caldwell cop jury trial

Hoadley has been accused by the U.S government of hitting a man while handcuffed and then wiping his electronics of any evidence pertaining to the investigation into him.

Hoadley's attorney, Chuck Peterson, filed a motion for acquittal on Wednesday for all four charges due to insufficient evidence.

"It's insufficient to establish the force used in this case was without legal justification," Peterson said, on the grounds that a witness could not give a "provable" eyewitness testimony about accusation that Hoadley punched or hit the man.

"There is no evidence he was injured or sought medical attention," Peterson continued. He also went on to say there is just not enough evidence of Hoadley tampering with evidence either, and that this was all an "employment dispute."

The judge later denied the motion, saying it's "up to the jury to decide."

The government showed text messages in federal court Wednesday where Hoadley can be seen saying, “I need to get some documentation from my computer regarding some incidents that need clarification before they mysteriously disappear,” and that his interim supervisor, Lt. Dave Wright, let him into his office while Hoadley was on administrative leave to do so.

Wright was later told by the city’s information technology department, after Hoadley’s electronics were given to IT, his Macbook and iPhone had been wiped. Call information is located in a system called Spillman, which is only compatible with Windows. A Windows system was installed on Hoadley’s computer, and that data was cleared, a City of Caldwell IT specialist testified. However, the defense attorney, Chuck Peterson, seemed to argue that it’s possible there was more data on the Mac laptop.

The IT specialist, Jose Menchaca, testified that it was “the first time” he had ever seen a laptop returned and wiped in that way.

When Wright cleaned out Hoadley’s locker, he said he found the Street Crimes Unit sticker that said "Sometimes there's justice. Sometimes there's just us."

RELATED: Ex-Caldwell officer allegedly had a pattern of hitting arrestees, bragging about it

Hoadley also was shown emailing his other supervisor, Capt. Devin Riley, saying the allegations against him were false and that “I'm not above making serious waves and giving (the FBI) something to seriously investigate,” he said in the email.

In another email to Riley, Hoadley can be shown saying, "take care of us."

Which, the new Caldwell Police Chief, Rex Ingram, subsequently removed from the Caldwell PD's core values after Hoadley was first charged.

Former witnesses, who were officers with Caldwell Police Department, voiced concerns about retaliation when it came to reporting to the FBI. One of them included Chad Hessman, an officer with the Street Crimes Unit.

Hessman said he knew about the alleged wrongdoings, which included Hoadley allegedly punching another man back in 2016. 

“I felt that my position at Street Crimes Unit and potentially my career was at risk if I continued to cooperate with the FBI," Hessman said. He claims he was essentially ambushed by Hoadley and other officers about his conversations with the FBI.

This is nearly the same story that former Caldwell officer Eddie Ibarra told on the stand Tuesday – he felt he was going to be retaliated against for reporting what he saw in 2017, when Hoadley allegedly punched a man. Ibarra later resigned from the department because he felt he was being targeted for reporting the matter.

The alleged victim known as "B.H" testified in court Tuesday against Hoadley. He said as Hoadley was escorting him out of the house in handcuffs in 2017, he told Hoadley he wasn't doing a very good job of being a police officer. Hoadley then said something to him, B.H responded, they stopped walking, and then Hoadley allegedly hit or punched him in the chin, causing him to fall to the ground. 

Amber Walker, the former Caldwell officer who has the 'before and after' of the alleged incident on her body camera, said that she would not have documented a use of force complaint against her like the one Hoadley was said to have falsified, just the accusations against her when the incident happened so that she was protected.

Walker said she didn't observe the alleged incident of Hoadley punching a handcuffed man in the face, but said that when she got outside from the house (while Hoadley was outside with B.H) and B.H was on the ground, he seemed to be "resisting."

RELATED: Ex-Caldwell cop trial: Prosecutors say he was supposed to protect, and did the opposite

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KTVB’s award winning investigative team reports on local, crime, and breaking news across Idaho.

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