Truden’s spouse off the hook
Post Independent Staff
The husband of the 9th Judicial District attorney is not an immanent danger to Christina Chapin, said 5th Judicial District Judge Fred Gannett Friday.
The judge dismissed a temporary restraining order Chapin brought against Fred Truden, saying the evidence did not support making it a permanent order.
Chapin testified that Fred Truden twice came up to her in the Silt park and challenged her. The second time, she said he got into an argument with Brian Snode, who had signed the petition.
“As I was finishing, I turned and a man was standing there who was quite vehement,” Snode testified. “He demanded (to know) why I was signing it and I replied it’s my right as a citizen to do so. Mr. Truden said, ‘Do you know all the facts?’ I said, ‘I’m not here to have a political discussion, and it’s none of your business.’ He was irate. I said, ‘You need to leave.’ I was beginning to get irate.”
Later, Snode said, he saw Silt Police Chief Paul Taylor, told him what happened and asked him to have Fred Truden removed from the park. Taylor spoke to the Trudens but did not ask Fred to leave.
After the second incident, Chapin said, “I was very shaken. I was very fearful for my safety … I was frightened. Mr. Truden would do this a second time.”
At that point in the hearing, Chapin broke down in tears and Gannett called a five-minute recess.
Chapin also testified she was approached by Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter during Heyday. She said he questioned her about the recall and then asked her who she was and who her husband was. She said she also felt intimidated by Felletter.
Carol Koris, who was also passing petitions at the park last Saturday, testified that Chapin came up to her and was visibly upset.
“Her hands were trembling and tears were running down her face. My first impression was she’d been attacked,” Koris said.
Fred Truden also approached Koris. She said, “(He) came out of nowhere and got in my face and he said, ‘You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about’ … and ran off.”
Koris is a former DA employee who left the job after Colleen Truden took over.
Under questioning by attorney Russell Murray, Chapin said she did not report the incidents to the police. She also said she applied for the restraining order because she was afraid Fred Truden would continue to intimidate her as she collected signatures for the recall petition, and because the police had failed to protect her.
The restraining order was issued Monday.
Recall organizers have until Sept. 16 to submit petitions to the secretary of state to be verified. They must gather more than 5,400 signatures to mount an election.
Fred Truden did not testify. Colleen Truden was not present at the hearing.
Gannett, who presided over the Kobe Bryant case in Eagle County last year, also signed the restraining order. Reportedly, he stepped in because 9th Judicial District judges recused themselves because of their involvement with the district attorney’s office.
Gannett said he found the hearing “oddly ironic” because both Chapin and Fred Truden have connections, direct and indirect, to the district attorney’s office, which clouds the issue of the recall.
Colleen Truden, who was elected in November 2004 and took over in January, has been the focus of the recall drive after several employees left the office. Colleen Truden’s budget has also come under scrutiny over the past few months, and she has also been criticized for paying Fred Truden to do computer for the district attorney’s office.
Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510
While he acknowledged Truden’s behavior was “boorish at best … (and) no doubt placed you in great discomfort and fear” he found she is not in immanent danger from Truden. He also said that it was unlikely they would continue to come in contact with each other.
On Aug. 6, Chapin was collecting signatures on a petition to recall District Attorney Colleen Truden at Veterans Park during the annual Silt Heyday celebration. Chapin said Fred Truden twice accosted her in a threatening way.
Although he dismissed the case, Gannett said the incident could be considered an election violation. “It’s a voter- or citizen-intimidation issue” that should be brought before the secretary of state’s election commission, he said.
Chapin is married to James Leuthauser, a former deputy district attorney who worked for Colleen Truden’s predecessor Mac Myers.
There were times during the hearing that Chapin became very emotional.
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