Credibility of Polygraph Questioned in Libel Case
The next turn in the libel suit filed by two black Greensboro police officers against author Jerry Bledsoe and The Rhinoceros Times could hinge on the credibility of a polygraph exam administered to Officer Julius Fulmore following an internal investigation over an alleged hotel sex incident in 2004.
Lawyers for Fulmore filed a motion earlier this month to quash a subpoena made to Winston-Salem police Detective JF Rogers, who administered a polygraph to Fulmore.
Superior Court Judge Brad Long has denied a motion by the plaintiffs to compel Bledsoe to turn over reporting materials, including audio recordings and legal pads.
In a response filed in March, Fulmore denied the genuineness of a Greensboro Police Department internal affairs report describing the polygraph, while acknowledging that the test was administered to him in October 2004. Fulmore was asked if he had sex with Brenda Weidman, a prostitute, on a summer evening four months earlier.
The investigation was launched when Fulmore was found to have paid for a room at the Red Carpet Inn in Greensboro next door to one occupied by Weidman.
Partly on the basis of DNA evidence, Fulmore was exonerated of criminal charges, according to an investigation by the city’s legal department. The city legal report also noted that Weidman, at one time an informant for Fulmore, could not remain awake during the administering of her polygraph.
A single page taken from the internal affairs report, which was produced by the plaintiff in a separate lawsuit against the city, suggests the police officer exhibited deception in answering that he had not had sex with Wiedman, and that “Detective Rogers’ stated from an overall evaluation of the examination, his certified opinion revealed deception was indicated.” The author of the larger document is not named on the page.
While his lawyers attempt to keep Rogers from taking the stand, Fulmore has denied in his written response that Rogers concluded that he gave a deceptive answer to the question of whether he had sex with Wiedman. Fulmore also denied that Rogers concluded that Fulmore exhibited deception overall in the polygraph.
Amiel Rossabi, one of Fulmore’s lawyers, wrote in an e-mail last month that he expected the court to receive testimony from a lawyer involved in the investigation indicating that Fulmore was told that he had passed the polygraph. Arguing against the credibility of the exam, Rossabi wrote, “The person performing the polygraph did not follow the rules for administering a proper polygraph.”
Rossabi noted that Bledsoe raised similar questions about the credibility of a finding of deception in a polygraph administered to Randall Brady, a former deputy chief who supervised the extensive investigations of Fulmore and other black police officers.
Bledsoe did not respond to a request for comment.