OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A judge has issued an order concluding that a convicted murderer has a right to a new trial due to a sexual relationship between the judge in the case and one of the prosecutors.
“Me and my colleague, Clay Curtis, are convinced that Robert Hashagen is innocent,” Benjamin Munda told KFOR.
“We are both convinced that we were treated extremely unfairly in our trial. At the time, we didn’t know why. I think we have a better idea of that now,” Munda said.
That’s because after the trial in January of this year, a scandal in the Oklahoma County Courthouse came to light.
The judge presiding over Hashagen’s case is Tim Henderson. According to court documents, he and one of the prosecutors in the case had a “secret sexual relationship” that lasted about two years.
On Monday, a judge from the District of Canada, assigned to look at the matter, announced the findings following an evidence hearing in November. He found that Hashagen was entitled to the new trial.
“His ruling is fundamentally inconsequential whether it is consensual, it creates at least the appearance and substantial risk that the proceedings are unfair. It undermines integrity and trust in the justice system and hence the adjudication,” Munda said.
While the prosecutor claimed she was sexually abused by Henderson, he said it was consensual and said he was “fair” throughout the trial despite the relationship.
Henderson resigns in March after three other women, including two prosecutors, brought sexual misconduct allegations against him, which could affect many other cases.
“I would guess there would be tens to hundreds of cases being heard here by assistant district attorneys here in front of this particular judge, possibly in the thousands,” Munda said.
For now, the Criminal Appeals Court will review the judge’s findings and determine whether Hashagen will receive a new trial.
DA David Prater told KFOR on Tuesday he won’t comment until they make his decision.
https://kfor.com/news/local/convicted-killer-could-get-new-trial-due-to-sex-scandal-at-oklahoma-county-courthouse/ Convicted killer may face new trial over sex scandal, Oklahoma County Court charges