U.S. Dept. of State says no comment on jailed Lamb of God singer
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–More than two weeks have passed since Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic on manslaughter charges.
The case, involving a four-time Grammy nominated band, has become high profile for numerous reasons, especially as questions go unanswered and Blythe remains jailed despite putting up almost $200,000 U.S. dollars in bail. [For the background reporting that CBS 6 has done from the beginning, just click here]
On Wednesday, on Facebook, the U.S. Embassy released a very brief, non-committal statement regarding Blythe: “The U.S. Embassy provides standard consular services to American citizens in need of assistance. We cannot discuss specific cases due to privacy concerns.”
Today CBS 6 reached out to several contacts; a Prague reporter who has been covering the case since the beginning, the U.S. State Department, the manager for Lamb of God, the Czech defense attorney, the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic, and the U.S. defense attorney that represents Lamb of God.
We had little luck with any Czech contacts—due to time zones and language barriers. We have left messages with both the Czech defense lawyer and the U.S. defense attorney who will remain overseas until Saturday. No confirmation yet if that means Blythe could be released by then. Blythe’s wife is also in the Czech Republic with the attorney.
Noel Clay, spokesperson with the U.S. Department of State, could not answer the specific question, “Were U.S. authorities contacted by Czech police?” The question looms in the air as to how the band never knew that a fan had died and that the death was under investigation, with the band as suspects.
Czech police have said, at least to the Czech tabloid, Blesk.cz, that they contacted U.S. police about 18 months after the 2010 incident at Prague’s Club Abaton. According to Jonathan Crane, with the Prague Post, police confirmed they started investigating the death in 2010.
“A friend I spoke to said that police were investigating pretty quickly, even before Daniel had died,” said Crane. Again, this would beg the question, how, in a world where the internet is global, was the manager of the band not contacted and notified about the death, or the investigation.
Clay, with the Dept. of State, said that no privacy act waiver has been signed, so commenting on the case—of which they are aware—would be a violation of Blythe’s privacy.
Clay said that the department’s role is to offer consular assistance. He also said that, absolutely, by procedure would Blythe have been offered the chance to sign a privacy act waiver. Only then could the Department of State comment.
“The U.S. Embassy said they weren’t legally obliged to comment on the case,” said Crane.
Crane has asked if Blythe wished to make a comment, and was told no. Lamb of God manager Larry Mazer has declared “radio silence until Monday,” saying they don’t want to say anything controversial or that could be misinterpreted.
Mazer did emphasize though that there were “never any reports of fans getting harmed.”
It is reported that the overseas tour promoter was questioned about the May 2010 Prague show but that he said nothing happened that the band or the venue knew about. The fan, Daniel N., died several weeks after the show, after going into a coma from a brain hemorrhage.
So how long could Blythe remain overseas?
CBS 6 reported Monday, July 9, that the Czech prosecutor in the case has formally filed a complaint to reject the singers bail. That’s how it works over there. There is no clear reason known as to why the prosecutor rejected the bail, but Crane said that the prosecutor’s concern would likely be if Blythe was released and came home, that it could be difficult for him to come back and they would have to issue a warrant for him to come back to trial and begin extradition.
So now Blythe’s file will be passed from the district court to the municipal court. It’s not clear as to whether there will be another hearing, or if the judgment will be made independently.
“It could be days, it could even be weeks,” said Crane. “Our legal experts said that sometimes these things could take up to months.”
“The legal expert said it could take six months,” said Crane, referring to the trial. If there is a trial, the question remains where Blythe would stay—in jail, or nearby under the watchful eye of the police.
A legal expert said that the defense team should have quite a strong case. Even if Randy was responsible for the alleged attack, the expert said that who is to say that he wasn’t accidently kicked or trodden on or left without help by fans below the stage,’ said Crane.
Crane discussed the videos that have emerged, showing three different incidents of the fan, presumed to be Daniel N. Friends of Daniel say that isn’t him in the video. Again, confusion surrounds this case as fans wait for answers and Blythe’s release.
“Police have not been cooperative and haven’t answered these questions and so it just breeds more uncertainty,” said Crane.
“The worry with this is how it will affect other heavy metal groups that want to come to the Czech Republic,” said Crane.
He added, near the end of the interview that, “We must not forget at the end of the day, a young boy lost his life, and a mother lost her son.”
Fans are outraged and putting the public relations machine into motion. Fans are petitioning the White House to get involved in Blythe’s case. The number of signatures more than doubled in just over a 24-hour period as high profile rockers like Ozzy Osbourne, GWAR, Slash and other hit social media channels to promote the petition. [Click here to see the petition].