The criminal case against Portland real estate developer and civil-rights pioneer Terry Bean took an unusual twist in Lane County County Circuit Court on June 4.
Bean is accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in 2013, when Bean was in Eugene for a University of Oregon football game. Bean was originally charged in the case five years ago but the case was dismissed on the eve of trial in 2015 when the alleged victim declined to testify. The young man had initially cooperated with the investigation of Bean but then went AWOL and, when he finally turned up, he was no longer willing to take the stand.
The Lane County District Attorney's office revived the case earlier this year, however, and re-charged Bean after the alleged victim changed his mind and again agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
The young man did so after learning that the attorney he'd hired to represent him in negotiations with Bean, Lori Deveny, had allegedly pocketed most of the $220,000 Bean agreed to pay him. (Originally, Bean offered to pay the young man in what's called a "civil compromise," where a defendant compensates a victim so that criminal charges will be dropped. The judge in the original criminal case refused to allow that.)
Deveny has subsequently resigned from the bar and been indicted on a raft of federal and state charges.
Bean is currently scheduled for trial in November.
Yesterday, Hasselman, the prosecutor on the case and Bean's attorney, Derek Ashton, met in front of Lane County Judge Charles Zennache to discuss pre-trial discovery and the terms of Bean's release from custody.
In the course of that hearing, Hasselman introduced new information, saying that he'd become convinced that, in the course of agreeing to pay the alleged victim $220,000, Bean and his attorney, Ashton, might have broken the law.
Here's a summary from the court docket of what Hasselman said .
"State [Hasselman] reports it met with counsel and the lead investigator in this case regarding the recorded testimony," the summary says. "State said once it learned of the statements, not only was state going to rely on this as potentially relevant disclosable information, but also it led to a series of proffers with a detective and attorneys/attorney employees that implicate defense counsel [Ashton], two other attorneys, and the defendant in criminal behavior."
"State may be appointed a special DA in Multnomah County regarding these allegations of misconduct/criminal behavior of attorneys. State believes there is probable cause to believe crimes involving the attorneys is involved. State has reached out to the [U.S. Attorney for Oregon] to determine if they would like to get involved here."
The summary of the hearing does not specify what the criminal behavior might be but a civil lawsuit Bean's alleged victim filed in March claims that Deveney, the alleged victim's attorney in 2015 and the person who allegedly pocketed the settlement Bean paid, negotiated an agreement with Ashton, the purpose of which "was to prevent [the alleged victim]'s presence at Bean's trial."
As the Portland Tribune reported earlier, there has already been a bar complaint filed against another lawyer who was allegedly involved in a effort to hide a key witness in the initial trial.
Hasselman did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, Ashton said Hasselman's assertions about Bean lack merit.
"I am a former prosecutor who worked for the State of Oregon for 15 years," Ashton said. "It is the job of a prosecutor to follow the evidence where it goes, but also to preserve a defendant's rights to due process. Those constitutional rights include the right to counsel of one's choosing. While I am prepared to defend Terry Bean on the merits of the charges against him, the statements of the prosecutor without any credible basis appear designed only to deprive my client of his constitutional rights. It is personally disappointing, as a former prosecutor and legal professional, to witness a prosecutor behave in this manner. The prosecutor's grandstanding calls into question the merits of his case."
Ashton directed WW's inquiry about Hasselman's assertions about Ashton to his attorney, Arden Olson of the Harrang Long firm.
"We represent Derek Ashton," Olson said in an email. "There is no formal allegation against him. We question the motivation, timing, and credibility of the prosecutor's statements."