On June 5th 2020 Broadwater County Commissioner Laura Obert was formally charged with felony theft and misdemeanor official misconduct. In the arraignment proceeding, both sides of the case had prearranged a process agreement. In that agreement Special Prosecutor Marty Lambert that was appointed by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox to represent the citizens o Broadwater County fully agreed without conditions or objections.
The judge in the matter Judge Menehan in the First Judicial District of Montana stated that he would look forward to getting the agreement in writing as soon as available. The defense attorneys agreed to get that document to the court.
On July 24th 2020 the legal maneuvering surfaced the agreement and was finally filed in court. At the time of this writing, we are not sure if Judge Menehan signed the agreement.
Citizens in Broadwater County are calling for action in the court to represent the people. Many are making a claim that in most all other cases providing a free pass to the average citizen is rarely if ever considered. In this case Commissioner Obert is not on administrative leave with or without pay.
Commissioner Folkvord who was serving as vice chairman of the commission when the charges were filed continues to decline comment on the matter claiming it is strictly a legal matter not under the jurisdiction of the Commission. Past Commission Chairman Mike Delger also remains silent on the matter.
County Attorney Cory Swanson has recused himself from the case due to the statutory conflict of interest law. When asked for information on the case all questions get referred to Special Prosecutor Marty Lambert who declines to comment on the case.
Will the citizens of Broadwater County see justice? That is the question as this case moves forward. Commissioner Obert’s legal team before submitting the stipulation agreement is moving forward with a motion for dismissal and has moved to reschedule the day of trial.
The case has brought forward multiple scenarios including legal action against the county for violating the law regarding public information. Broadwater Reporter filed lawsuit against the County naming County Sheriff Wynn Meehan for violating Montana law providing for the release of public information. The refusal to release the booking photo is a direct violation of Montana law.
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