Thunder Bay

'We're guilty of being stupid,' Marisa Hobbs tells OPP investigator in recorded interview

Marisa Hobbs says she and Keith Hobbs were "guilty of being stupid," but not extortion, when they tried to force another person to buy a house for Mary Voss, court heard Thursday.

Day nine of extortion trial against Keith and Marisa Hobbs, Mary Voss continued Thursday

The extortion trial against former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa, and city resident Mary Voss continued Thursday. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Marisa Hobbs says she and Keith Hobbs were "guilty of being stupid," but not extortion, when they tried to force another person to buy a house for Mary Voss, court heard Thursday.

The ninth day of the extortion trial against the three opened with a video of Marisa Hobbs speaking to OPP Det. ​​Inspt. Martin Graham, who was the lead investigator on the case.

Throughout the video, a visibly-upset Marisa Hobbs maintained the intent was never to extort someone, but rather to protect Voss from the victim, who she described as a "beast."

In the interview, Marisa Hobbs told Graham about a few encounters she had with the alleged victim. The first interaction, she said, was "friggin' weird," adding that the victim introduced her as the "beautiful wife" of Keith Hobbs.

She also spoke about their second visit to the victim's home, which was the night a video was filmed that showed both Keith and Marisa Hobbs there. That video was later circulated on social media.

Marisa Hobbs also told Graham that she's never accepted any money from the victim, and referred to Craig Loverin — a friend of the victim who testified earlier in the trial — as "crazy," saying she's afraid of him.

Marisa Hobbs also tells Graham the same thing Keith Hobbs did in his taped interview, which was shown in court on Wednesday: the victim was already planning to buy Voss a house before Keith and Marisa Hobbs met the victim.

Marisa Hobbs also alleges an extortion attempt against the victim by Heli Kijanen, and Kijanen's boyfriend, that didn't work out.

"They're vultures who want money," Marisa Hobbs said, referring to other people who were around the victim at the time.

Marisa Hobbs told Graham she "didn't think we were doing anything wrong," and said the victim's agreement to purchase a house for Voss was necessary if Voss and the victim were to have an amicable split.

When Graham told Marisa Hobbs what she and Keith Hobbs were doing would be considered extortion, Marisa Hobbs replies that they were just trying to help Voss: she wanted to help Voss get away from the victim, and for Voss to be safe.

In the video, Marisa Hobbs also brings up unspecified threats made against Keith Hobbs, but Graham dismisses them, saying "Keith has never been harmed."

Graham then alleges Keith Hobbs was owed a favour by a Thunder Bay police officer. Marisa Hobbs replies that's a "total frigging lie."

"You're taking the word of those creeps," she said. "That's a lie. That's a total lie."

The alleged favour being referred to ties in to a pair of USB sticks that contained videos showing the victim, which put them in a negative light. Details of the videos can't be published due to a court-ordered publication ban.

However, Loverin earlier testified that when Keith Hobbs, a retired police officer, gave him the USB sticks, Keith Hobbs said an active Thunder Bay police officer, who owed him a favour, would also have a copy of the videos.

Keith Hobbs told Loverin he wanted the videos passed on to the victim, so the victim would know the trouble they're in.

In the videotaped interviewed shown in court on Thursday, Marisa Hobbs told Graham that the victim claiming they were being extorted is their "m.o."

Marisa Hobbs says she knows she did the right thing, as the intention was to help Voss, and not extort anybody.

"Would I do it again?" she said. "Yes, because [Voss] is safe."

Marisa Hobbs then referred to Thunder Bay as "frigging corrupt," and "a Bizarro World," and said she hopes the victim "drops dead in jail."

The issue, Graham tells Marisa Hobbs in the video, is that Keith and Marisa Hobbs and Voss didn't go to the police about alleged criminal activity by the victim. Rather, they drafted up a contract that said those allegations would be swept under the rug if the victim bought a house for Voss.

Marisa Hobbs then alleges the victim hasn't been charged because they're "high-profile."

"We're guilty of being stupid," Marisa Hobbs tells Graham.

"Are you stupid?" he replied.

"No. Naive sometimes," she said.

Graham then told Marisa Hobbs he believed Keith Hobbs, who was mayor of Thunder Bay at the time, should resign from office. Marisa Hobbs told Graham that was "rude" of him to say.

Testimony will continue Thursday afternoon.