A second federal judge has denied a request from a former Spokane neonatal doctor to be released ahead of his trial on an attempted kidnapping charge.
In making her decision, Magistrate Judge Mary Dimke cited a jailhouse letter penned by Ronald Ilg in July to a woman identified in court testimony as having traveled with Ilg to Mexico during the time the kidnapping solicitation was allegedly made. In the letter, Ilg talks of marrying the woman.
“I know you are worried about cooperation and being truthful. I want you to be also,” Ilg wrote in the letter dated July 10, which was obtained by investigators. “Importantly, if we are married, we can decide if you testify or not.”
In a postscript, Ilg asks the woman to burn the letter.
Carl Oreskovich, Ilg’s attorney, argued the letter was an attempt to salvage a consensual, romantic relationship that had begun on a social media website used by people with sexual fetishes.
It was “an effort to save her from potential embarrassment,” Oreskovich said, noting that when the court ordered Ilg to stop communicating with the woman earlier this year, he did so.
But Demke, a Yakima judge taking the case because U.S. Magistrate Judge James Goeke of Spokane worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office when the investigation began, said that statement indicated a desire to undermine the investigation.
“Dr. Ilg wants to have control of the evidence that the government, the jury and the court is going to have access to,” Demke said.
Prosecutors allege Ilg was contacting people through what is known as the “dark web” while on the trip to Mexico, soliciting someone to kidnap another woman with whom he was going through a divorce, injecting her with heroin and extorting her to drop divorce filings against him.
Ilg has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied that he sent the messages. He has been in custody of the Spokane County Jail since April 16, and faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years if convicted.
Oreskovich told Demke that releasing Ilg to live with an ex-wife in Wenatchee, who was not one of the women allegedly threatened by Ilg, would allow the physician to prepare for his own defense at trial. Oreskovich said based on the complexity of the dark web and the cryptocurrency involved in payment for the alleged acts, he didn’t anticipate trial occurring until late next year.
Ilg did not speak at Thursday’s hearing, and was led from the courtroom in handcuffs after Demke announced her decision.
Oreskovich said after the hearing that the defense was planning to appeal the detention ruling to U.S. Senior Judge William Fremming Nielsen.