Judge issues a restraining order against DA’s husband
By Donna Gray
Fred Truden, husband of 9th District Attorney Colleen Truden, allegedly ran afoul of a recall volunteer at Silt’s annual Heyday celebration Saturday.
A judge issued a restraining order against him Monday at the behest of Christina Chapin who alleges Fred Truden accosted her while she was collecting signatures on a petition to recall his wife.
An Eagle County judge signed the restraining order, reportedly because 9th Judicial District judges recused themselves because of their involvement with the district attorney’s office.
Chapin is married to James Leuthauser, a former deputy district attorney who worked for Colleen Truden’s predecessor Mac Myers.
According to a statement on the application for the restraining order, Chapin, of Glenwood Springs, was collecting signatures on the petition “when an irate man came up and started screaming at me. He said he was Fred Truden, Colleen’s husband, and demanded to know what I thought I was doing. He was very angry and was screaming that I was a liar and full of lies.”
Chapin said she feared for her safety and walked away from Fred Truden, who followed her for a short distance.
Although “somewhat rattled,” she continued to collect signatures. After circulating through Silt’s Veterans Park a man came up to sign her petition and “Fred Truden came up and began yelling at the man signing and myself. He demanded to know why the man would sign it. He was screaming and was very hostile and angry,” Chapin said in her statement.
According to Chapin, Fred Truden and the petition signer, whom she identified as Brian Snode, of Silt, got into an argument. She said she “told Fred that neither I nor anyone else at the park were going to allow him to intimidate us. I asked him to please try to be professional.”
Snode then contacted Silt police, Chapin said.
On Tuesday, the Post Independent reported that Silt police chief Paul Taylor said, “It wasn’t even an incident. It was nothing,” after receiving the report.
Snode confirmed Chapin’s account of Truden’s angry encounter with him.
“He was very agitated. He asked me why I was signing the petition and I said it was my right as a citizen. He said, ‘Do you know the facts?'”
Snode replied that it was none of his business. Snode said he ran into Taylor in the park and told him about the incident and asked him to escort Truden out of the park. Taylor chose not to eject Truden.
Fred Truden was unavailable for comment.
The incident left Chapin shaken. “I felt … very fearful for my safety,” she said.
However, she continued to collect signatures in the park, leaving about 2 p.m.
“I felt it was very important to remain … despite feeling intimidated. Although I felt Mr. Truden’s behavior was inappropriate and out of control, I also felt it was important not to let his bully tactics succeed.”
In a phone interview Tuesday, Chapin said her efforts to collect signatures for the petition have gone very well.
So far, about 3,000 signatures have been collected, said Sherry Caloia, a Glenwood Springs attorney who is organizing the recall. A total of 5,455 signatures, or 25 percent of the votes for Colleen Truden during the 2004 election, are required to mount the recall. In addition to passing petitions at Silt Heyday, volunteers also passed petitions in Aspen this past weekend.
According to the restraining order, Fred Truden must keep a distance of at least 25 yards from Chapin and have no contact with her either directly or through a third party.
A hearing on the order is set for 10 a.m. Friday in county court.
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