TX: Anderson inquiry in Williamson County slowed until June
Fri Mar 23, 2012 17:22
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Anderson inquiry in Williamson County slowed until June
By Chuck Lindell | AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
The court of inquiry examining former Williamson County prosecutor Ken Anderson's role in the Michael Morton case will progress slowly for the next three months, the special prosecutor said Monday.
Rusty Hardin, appointed last week to act as special prosecutor for the court of inquiry, said another commitment will keep him from devoting much time to the Anderson-Morton case until June at the earliest.
Hardin is defending pitching star Roger Clemens against charges that he lied to Congress when he denied using steroids during his Major League Baseball career. That federal court trial begins April 16 in Washington, and prosecutors indicated that they will need six to eight weeks to present their case, Hardin said.
"I think it's safe to say we expect the main efforts to be this summer" in the Anderson inquiry, Hardin said from his office in Houston.
The court of inquiry will examine allegations, leveled by Morton and his lawyers, that Anderson intentionally hid evidence that could have spared Morton from a life sentence for the 1986 murder of his wife, Christine, in their Southwest Williamson County home. Morton spent almost 25 years in prison before Texas courts declared him innocent last year.
Anderson, now a district judge in Georgetown, has denied any misconduct in his handling of the Morton case.
District Judge Lewis Sturns of Fort Worth will conduct the court of inquiry. Last week, he appointed Hardin to act as attorney pro tem — a job frequently referred to as special prosecutor because Hardin will subpoena and question witnesses, compile relevant information and "render other assistance ... as necessary" to Sturns, according to state law.
When Sturns approached him about taking the job, Hardin said yes — "if I didn't have to start actively spending a lot of time until sometime in June."
In the meantime, Hardin said, efforts will focus on compiling information for Sturns, including court briefs, reports and sworn depositions by Anderson and other former county officials who were questioned by Morton's lawyers.
"We will review all the materials, look to determine if additional interviews need to be done, and we'll try to marshal all the evidence for presentation to the judge," Hardin said. "Ultimately, there will be a hearing. A lot depends on the schedule the judge sets."
Much of that schedule will be determined next week, when Sturns will lead a conference call with Hardin and lawyers for Anderson and Morton.
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