Press Release - Review of D.A. Newsome Allegations
OFFICE OF GOV. BILL RITTER, JR.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008
Evan Dreyer, Governor's Office, 720.350.8370
Nate Strauch, Attorney General's Office, 303.866.5632
GOV. RITTER DIRECTS REVIEW OF D.A. NEWSOME ALLEGATIONS
Gov. Bill Ritter today designated Attorney General John W. Suthers as a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that John Newsome, district attorney for the 4th Judicial District, misspent taxpayer funds. Suthers has, in turn, appointed two former district attorneys from outside his office to oversee the investigation.
Newsome traveled to Chicago last October to interview a witness in a Colorado Springs homicide case. While there, he drove to South Bend., Ind., to watch a Notre Dame vs. University of Southern California football game. He initially received reimbursement from his office for those travel expenses, about $700. But after a media inquiry in April, he paid that money back.
The case was initially referred to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Because Mr. Newsome and his opponent in the current 4th Judicial District Republican primary, Dan May, were employees of Mr. Suthers when he served as district attorney in Colorado Springs, and to avoid any appearance of possible bias in the investigation, Suthers has elected to appoint Special Assistant Attorneys General from outside his office to conduct the investigation and possible prosecution.
Former 8th Judicial District Attorney Stuart A. VanMeveren and former 19th JD Attorney Al Dominguez have agreed to accept the appointment. They will also oversee the investigation by CBI and conduct any prosecution arising from their investigation.
This is only the second time Gov. Ritter has designated Attorney General Suthers as a special prosecutor. The first was in January, when Gov. Ritter named the Attorney General to review the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick after Timothy Masters was freed from prison. That appointment came at the request of Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson.
Here is the executive order Gov. Ritter issued today in the Newsome matter:
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Designating State's Prosecutor to Investigate Conduct of District Attorney John Newsome
Pursuant to the authority vested in the Office of the Governor of the State of Colorado, and in particular Colorado Revised Statute § 24-31-101(1)(a), I, Bill Ritter, Jr., Governor of the State of Colorado, hereby issue this Executive Order designating John W. Suthers, Attorney General for the State of Colorado, as the State's prosecutor, to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute criminal matters related to possible criminal conduct by John Newsome, District Attorney for the Fourth Judicial District.
I. Background and Purpose
On October 20, 2007, Fourth Judicial District Attorney John Newsome traveled at state expense to Chicago, Illinois to interview a witness in a Colorado Springs homicide case. Mr. Newsome did not return to Colorado until Sunday, October 22. In the intervening days, he traveled from Chicago to South Bend, Indiana to attend a University of Notre Dame football game. The travel costs associated with this trip ¿ car rental, gas, per diem, and hotel expenses, totaled $699. Mr. Newsome requested and received reimbursement for these costs. In April 2008, after a media inquiry, Mr. Newsome reimbursed the county for the majority of these expenses.
Mr. Newsome is a sitting district attorney and, thus, not subject to investigation by his own office. Because the allegations against Mr. Newsom concern official misconduct, it is not appropriate to request a sitting district attorney in another judicial district to investigate this matter. I am, therefore, designating the Attorney General to appear for the State of Colorado to investigate, and if appropriate, to prosecute any potential criminal wrongdoing related to Mr. Newsome's conduct.
Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute § 24-31-101(1)(a), I hereby appoint John W. Suthers, Attorney General for the State of Colorado, to be the State's prosecutor and authorize him to take all necessary actions to investigate and, if he deems it appropriate and if supported by the evidence, prosecute, on behalf of the State of Colorado, misuse of state funds or abuse of the public trust by John Newsome, including conduct related to his October 2007 trip.
Unless modified or rescinded by future Executive Order of the Governor, this appointment and the directive in this Executive Order shall expire upon completion of the Attorney General's investigation and, if deemed appropriate and supported by the evidence, the prosecution of Mr. Newsome.
Given under my hand and the Executive Seal of the State of Colorado, this twenty-eighth day of July, 2008.
Bill Ritter, Jr.