A former police officer accuses embattled Texas County Prosecutor Michael Anderson of smearing his reputation in statements that eventually reached the Missouri attorney general’s office.
Danny McNew accuses Anderson, both as prosecuting attorney and individually, of defamation-neligence, dafamation-false statements and invasion of privacy-false light in a lawsuit filed in Cole County Circuit Court in Jefferson City.
The allegations follow the conclusion of two previous lawsuits against Anderson. In the spring, Anderson and Monica Daniel-Hutchison, a former court clerk, reached a settlement that was sealed in federal court in Springfield concerning allegations made by the prosecutor about her. In September, a Webster County Circuit Court awarded Mildred Williams, an associate circuit clerk, $1 million related to allegations made by Anderson.
In the latest court filing, McNew’s attorney, Thomas H. Hearne of Springfield, alleges Anderson engaged in an inquiry concerning McNew, the former police chief of Licking.
According to a six-page petition, Anderson made several statements related to a March 2005 police pursuit initiated by McNew that ended with the crash of the vehicle that killed the driver, Ronald Sullins, 36.
According to the lawsuit, Anderson wrote to the attorney general’s office and said “that possible collusion between my former staff member and officer McNew may have resulted in a deliberate effort to thwart the investigation, or at least that their actions may give the appearance of a cover up.” Anderson went on to make other statements to the attorney general’s office.
Hearne says Anderson failed to conduct a full investigation concerning the statements, which have hurt McNew’s ability to earn a livelihood and caused him humilation and embarrassment.
C. Bradley Tuck of Evans & Dixon LLC in Springfield, representing Texas County’s insurance carrier, filed a dismissal motion last week on behalf of Anderson as prosecuting attorney that says Anderson has sovereign immunity because he was acting in his official capacity. Warren E. Harris of Taylor, Stafford, Clithero, Fitzgerald & Harris LLP, representing Anderson individually, last week questioned the venue of the petition filing, asked that it be transferred to Texas County and sought other answers to allegations made in lawsuit.