SAN JOSE -- Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has yanked a veteran prosecutor off a high-profile homicide assignment for having a secret "physical and emotional'' relationship with a crime lab technician whom he put on the witness stand twice to testify about DNA tests that led to a breakthrough in a 25-year-old cold-case murder, the office confirmed Sunday.
Prosecutor Ted Kajani's affair with criminalist Amanda Cardenas began before she testified for him in a May preliminary hearing and June grand jury proceeding. As a result of those hearings, brothers David and Robert Zimmer were held over for trial in the 1989 strangulation of Cathy Zimmer, David's estranged wife. The 38-year-old mother's body was discovered on the floor of the back seat of her car at San Jose's airport, wrapped in a colorful patchwork quilt whose origins are still unknown despite widespread publicity.
But Kajani did not inform Rosen of his extramarital affair with the analyst until about 10 days ago and he also failed to divulge it to the accused brothers, in possible violation of his legal obligation to do so -- omissions the brothers' lawyers claim irrevocably taint the prosecution's case.
In a brief telephone interview Sunday, Assistant District Attorney David Angel, who runs the office's Conviction Integrity Unit, confirmed that the two employees have been involved in a "physical and emotional'' relationship without the knowledge of the office or the defendants since "somewhat before'' Cardenas first testified for Kajani in late May.
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