Forestry division seeks subpoena to compel McDonough’s testimony


The Arizona State Forestry Division has requested that an administrative law judge issue a subpoena compelling Brendan McDonough to be deposed on May 26.

Two previous efforts to depose McDonough about what he heard in intra-crew radio communications in the minutes leading up to the June 30, 2013 deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were unsuccessful. McDonough was not with the rest of the crew when they were trapped in a box canyon west of Yarnell.

The forestry division is contesting three citations and a $559,000 fine levied by the state Division of Occupational Safety & Health for its alleged gross negligence in managing the Yarnell Hill Fire. The proceedings are before Administrative Law Judge Michael A. Mosesso.

“Although this Tribunal normally does not issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses at depositions, in this situation ASFD believes that it is necessary to do so,” a May 1 legal brief filed by forestry division attorney David Selden states. “ASFD has been actively attempting to take Mr. McDonough’s deposition for six months.”

McDonough was scheduled to be deposed last November, but that deposition was postponed because of a scheduling conflict with his attorney. The deposition was then set for Feb. 26.  Selden’s May 1 filing states the February deposition didn’t occur after McDonough’s attorney, David Shapiro, sent a copy of a letter from McDonough’s therapist stating “that deposition would be detrimental to the treatment of Mr. McDonough for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Selden noted that during the same period McDonough “avoided being deposed” that he had “been collaborating with an author on a book about the Yarnell Hill Fire.”

The forestry division is requesting the deposition occur before June 1 when another round of mediation talks  is scheduled seeking to reach a global settlement on the ADOSH citations and civil suits filed against the forestry division by surviving family members.

© Copyright 2015 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA


  1. WantsToKnowTheTruth says

    If Brendan McDonough’s lawyer ( still Mr. David Shapiro? ) maintains that the February, 2015 ‘letter’ from Brendan’s ‘therapist’ is still ‘in effect’, and that any under-oath deposition would still be (quote) “detrimental to the treatment of Mr. McDonough for post-traumatic stress disorder.”… then I imagine the issue will become whether that original February letter actually constitutes a ‘sworn affidavit’ from his therapist as to the validity of the PTSD diagnosis.

    In February… Arizona Forestry, ADOSH and ALJ Judge Michael A. Mosesso were apparently just ‘taking the therapist’s word for it’.

    If this same letter now continues to ( indefinitely? ) ‘impede’ the progress of a valid court proceeding… then the actual PTSD diagnosis may need to be subjected to closer scrutiny.

    PTSD is a serious condition. No question.

    Whether someone who needs to be ‘deposed’ in a valid court proceeding actually HAS it ( or not ) might require more than just “taking someone’s word for it”.

    There IS hard evidence already that even during this time when Brendan’s therapist was advising against him having to recount his experiences… he was doing exactly that to various other non-medical entities such as a famous ghost-writer, a movie production company, AND as a PUBLIC “guest speaker” in front of various Church groups.

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