MARSHFIELD — Testimony continued Thursday in the controversial Texas County civil case moved to Webster County on a change of venue with calls for a mistrial late in the day.
Howell County Judge Don M. Henry is presiding over the case of a court clerk who is suing the current prosecutor, alleging he abused his office in an attempt to silence her and another county employee.
In the lawsuit filed in July 2009 Mildred S. Williams, a Texas County court clerk, alleges that Anderson’s improper or wrongful motives included illegal retaliation against her after she witnessed his sexual harassment of Monica Daniels Hutchison, another Texas County employee. Williams alleges that he then attempted to keep her from testifying by intimidation or coercion.
Williams is seeking payment of compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering, embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, costs and expenses incurred to defend herself.
With Williams out of the courtroom Thursday, Dale Halfacre, a Springfield psychologist explained in detail the evaluation process that Williams underwent in his office.
“The lawsuit of 2006 was a contributing factor to her condition,” said Halfacre. “Anderson’s continuing actions against her have exasperated her condition.”
Recommended treatment includes added counseling, psychotherapy as well as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication.
Retired Texas County Judge Bradford Ellsworth — Williams’ boss from 2002 to 2008 — said he never once heard her make disparaging remarks about Anderson.
“She was an excellent employee, considerate… ,” he said, adding that the events surrounding the three lawsuits “were the talk of the courthouse.”
Ellsworth also said of Anderson, “He was the best prosecutor in our circuit… completely committed and also has compassion.”
A video of former Licking Police Chief Danny McNew’s deposition was played in part. Other witnesses heard Thursday were Andrea Stillers of the Missouri Department of Public Safety and Texas County Assessor Debbie James.
Discussion in the courtroom after the jury had left for the day involved several issues including grounds for mistrial, sought by Harris.
Williams’ attorney David Steelman opposed the request and said he wanted to immediately address Anderson’s apparent neglect to include all the facts during his testimony. The second was the continual questioning and testimony regarding the Hutchison case which was settled out of court and sealed in federal court last spring.
Secondly, the Hutchison lawsuit, Steelman continued.
“Judge Henry ruled on the details of the lawsuit. We have never talked about the details of the lawsuit. It was obvious … and we already know that she filed a sexual harassment claim. It doesn’t matter what the facts are because the sexual harassment case is over,” Steelman emphasized.
“But more to the point is, there is a constitutional right to defend yourself in a lawsuit. There is no constitutional right to continue to spread lies which you have done … and you know are completely false with regards to Mildred Williams. There was no sex ring … the jury can take all that into account, and unless the court tells me I can’t, I intend to argue exactly that in front of them.”
Warren Harris, attorney for Anderson, said, “Then I would say that the evidence is abundantly clear that Ms. Williams is continuing to spread malicious lies about my client to Dr. Halfacre.”
Testimony resumed today and if not settled, will continue Monday morning.