Judge orders former health secretary's emails turned over - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Judge orders former health secretary's emails turned over

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Dane County judge ordered former state health secretary Dennis Smith's emails over several months turned over to the court, in advance of the attempted murder trial of the husband of the health department's former chief legal counsel.

Authorities said 60-year old Andrew Spear set Mary Spear on fire August 16, 2012, in a homicide attempt. She survived with minor injuries.

Andrew Spear's attorney, Brian Brophy said emails between Mary Spear and Smith were important to assess Spear's credibility.

Andrew Spear has said his wife set herself on fire, to prevent Spear from calling Smith's wife and exposing an affair between Smith and Mary Spear. Both Smith and Spear have denied any affair.

Brophy Wednesday said emails may confirm an affair, including Smith's talk of becoming U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary if Mitt Romney was elected, and securing a job in Washington, D.C. for Mary Spear.

While approving the turning over of emails between Spear and Smith, some text messages, and potentially a portion of Spear's mental health treatment records, Judge William Hanrahan questioned whether any proof of an affair was relevant to Andrew Spear's upcoming trial.

Hanrahan said all records would be carefully collected, reviewed, and evaluated for their potential admissibility at trial, and warned he would not allow any revelations in the court case to become "salacious" and warp the legal proceedings.

The emails to be turned over to the court span most of Spear's tenure as a state attorney between January and September 2012.

Assistant Dane County district attorney Matthew Moeser objected to turning over emails and other records, arguing Andrew Spear's suspicions of an affair were shared by no one else.

Hanrahan took exception to Brophy's representation powerful people were trying to keep Andrew Spear in jail. Brophy cited few, insightful documents being turned over to him by state health department officials, in response to a request under the state's Open Records law. Brophy also said state health officials maneuvered to help Smith avoid being served with a court summons while Smith was still a state employee.

Hanrahan praised officials for their advocacy of crime victim Spear in scrutinizing records requests.

Moeser said if anyone attempted to unduly influence his prosecution, "I would tell them to go to hell."

Smith, a former Bush administration official, announced his February resignation to join a Washington, D.C. law firm just days after Brophy petitioned the court to allow him to inspect Smith's emails.

Spear is free on $107,000 bail. Last week, Hanrahan modified Spear's bail conditions to allow Spear to live in his native Texas as he awaits trial later this spring.

 

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