BY KATY MOELLER
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The apology is to former Commissioner Fred Lawson and his wife, Marla, for damage to their reputations they might have suffered due to the “unauthorized and improper actions” of Prosecutor Ron Twilegar.
Tuesday’s apology was part of a settlement agreement that the county reached with the Lawsons, who filed a civil suit in December 2010.
So what’s this all about?
Boise County Commissioner Bob Fry said Tuesday that Twilegar filed a charge of misuse of public funds against Fred Lawson because Twilegar had issues with how much the interim prosecutor had been paid while serving the county, prior to Twilegar’s election.
He “thought they were overpaying that prosecutor and considered that a misuse of public funds,” Fry said.
Fry said he did not know how much was paid. He said the salary budgeted for the Boise County prosecutor when Twilegar came into office was $50,000. Fry said Twilegar couldn’t legally sue his own client — the commissioners — so he filed the suit after Lawson left office.
The felony charge was filed in October, 2009, for actions alleged to have occurred in October 2008, according to Idaho court records. It was dismissed in November 2009.
Lawson filed his suit against the county in December 2010. The county settled June 1.
The suit alleged malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel and violation of the Lawson’s First Amendment rights. Lawson’s lawyer said $80,000 was paid to his client — $30,000 on behalf of the county, $50,000 on behalf of Twilegar.
In a press release Tuesday, the county said that Twilegar brought “unsupported and groundless” charges against Lawson. “The county acknowledges, as did the special prosecutor assigned to the case, that the charges lacked probable cause and could not be ethically pursued by the county,” the statement said. The release said Twilegar had been directed by commissioners to cease his “highly unprofessional secret private investigation.”
Reached on his cellphone Tuesday, Twilegar said he had not seen the release and could not comment. Lawson did not return a call Tuesday.
Fry said commissioners received a letter of resignation from Twilegar at their Monday meeting, effective Aug. 6.
Twilegar is running in November for the job of Ada County prosecutor. A Democrat, Twilegar qualified as a write-in candidate for the general election.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413