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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Grand jury does not charge LaPorte County prosecutor" [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from Dec. 26, 2013, Stan Maddux wrote May 9th in the NWI Times:

A grand jury has decided not to pursue charges against LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi, who had signed the names of his ex-wife and a notary public on legal documents involving his divorce.

The grand jury ruled there was insufficient evidence that Szilagyi knowingly or intentionally committed Class C felony forgery and Class D felony counterfeiting in a decision released publicly on Friday.

Szilagyi on Tuesday lost his bid for a second term in the Democratic primary election to John Espar, But Szilagyi said he doubts if the outcome of the election would have changed much had the grand jury's decision come out before the election.

He did say the case had been decided before he was elected prosecutor in 2010 or shortly afterward, the outcome of the election could have been more favorable.

Szilagyi said he's now going to discuss with his attorney, Michael Drayton, the possibility of filing a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for malicious prosecution, and discuss whether to begin the process of seeking criminal charges.

Under Indiana law, Szilagyi said malicious acts with intent to do things like influence an election is a Class D felony.

"There's a possibility I could ask for the special prosecutor to look at the case," said Szilagyi. * * *

In 2012, Szilagyi's law license was suspended for 60 days by the Indiana Supreme Court citing misconduct.

Criminal charges were later examined after his ex-wife filed a motion to have the case reviewed for prosecution.

Szilagyi said the case going this far was politically motivated.

He alleged his former wife was represented by attorneys whose services were provided at no cost to try and return to their former positions as deputy prosecutors if his opponent, John Espar, was elected.

Espar received 70 percent of the vote to defeat Szilagyi.

[Update] Here is another story, this one by Matt Fritz for the LaPorte Herald Argus. Some quotes:
On Friday, La Porte County Circuit Court received word that a grand jury convening to determine whether the state should charge Szilagyi for counterfeiting or forgery for his actions in faking his wife's signature on a document, issued a no bill of indictment order on April 25. * * *

The bill was sealed until March 6 and not made available to the La Porte County Circuit Court until Friday.

"It was a bunch of B.S. that they did it," Szilagyi said during a phone interview on Friday. "And it was all for political reasons."

Szilagyi has maintained that the issue came up as a means to guarantee his loss at the primary elections, which he did lose Tuesday to John Espar. He said he couldn't say why the document was sealed so long. In a previous interview he said he was held to an oath not to disclose the verdict until the document was unsealed. The verdict was turned in by the grand jury more than a week before the elections.

"I can't tell you (why it was sealed)," he said. "You'll have to ask the special prosecutor (Richard Fleming). It would have been nice if he had (unsealed the verdict) before the election, but that's how it goes." * * *

As far as the future goes, Szilagyi said he is looking into the possibility of filing charges against some of the prosecutors in the case, especially in regards to Indiana code 3-14-3-18, which makes it a Class D felony to level charges against a candidate to influence an election.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 11, 2014 05:44 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts