Ex-Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson was jailed for withholding evidence in a wrongful conviction case from almost 25 years ago. Anderson accepted his 10-day prison sentence on Friday in front of the innocent man he helped put in prison more than two decades ago.
Anderson will also be disbarred and has to serve 500 hours of community service as part of the deal, which is expected to end all criminal and civil cases against the former district attorney.
Anderson didn’t speak during the hearing, which took place in the same Williamson County courthouse where he served as a judge for 11 years before stepping down last month, reports ABC News.
Sitting behind him in the gallery was Michael Morton, who was released from prison two years after DNA evidence proved he didn’t beat his wife to death in 1986. Anderson entered a plea of no contest to contempt of court in Morton’s case.
The charge stemmed from a 1987 conversation when Anderson was asked by a judge if he had anything to offer that could help Morton’s defense. He said no but, it turns out, according to Morton’s attorneys, that statements from Morton’s then-3-year-old son, who witnessed the killing, said his father wasn’t responsible.
The Washington Post notes that authorities were also told by neighbors that they saw another man near the family’s home before the killing. Morton spoke with reporters after the sentencing hearing, calling it “a good day.” He took the high road when asked if he was satisfied with the role reversal, saying, “It was one of those necessary evils, or distasteful requirements that you have to do in life.”
Anderson previously apologized to Morton for so-called failures in the system, but said there was no misconduct in the case. He faced up to 10 years in prison if he was found guilty on charges of tampering with evidence. However, prosecutors explained that statutes of limitations made if hard to pursue the conviction.
The former prosecutor must report to the Williamson County jail by December 2. He could serve as few as four days with good behavior and time already served.
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