Judge to decide if investigation report should be used in trial - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Judge to decide if investigation report should be used in Huston trial

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PASCO, Wash. -- Franklin County Superior Court Judge, Craig Matheson says he must first see a private independent investigation report into the embezzlement claims against Dennis Huston before he can decide whether it should be admissible in court.

The former public works accountant is accused of embezzling more than two million dollars from the county. His criminal and civil defense attorney John Jensen argued that the document which county prosecutors say falls under "attorney client privilege" needs to be shared before they can proceed with the trial.

Franklin County Deputy Prosecutor, Janet Taylor argued Tuesday that there are private matters in the report that could jeopardize the county's separate civil case against Huston. Scott Marlow, who is in charge of prosecuting the criminal case from the State's General Attorney's office says he has yet to see the report too.

Taylor says sharing the report could jeopardize not just Huston's civil prosecution but others as well and she asked that certain issues be addressed.

"Specifically we would ask that Mr. Jensen would not be allowed to continue as Mr. Huston's civil attorney. We would ask that there would be an order that this material not be shared directly with Mr. Huston and that it not be shared with the attorneys involved in the civil case," Taylor said.

Judge Matheson asked Taylor to prepare a report with redacted information, along with the original so he can decide which information will be important to the case. Attorneys also agreed that Huston should give an "in-camera" interview to the judge who will preside on this trial to see which of the information from the report is admissible.

In the meantime, Jensen asked that a new judge be assigned to the case since rotating judges can't keep up with such a large amount of discovery and evidence. Jensen said he will file an affidavit of prejudice against Judge Robert Swisher because he was the one who set the bail for Huston originally.

A new judge reassignment, and outline for future course of action should be determined by November 27th.