EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (The Gazette) - Indicted ex-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa and two former subordinates have launched a counterattack - saying they intend to sue for malicious prosecution.
In a series of claims sent out Nov. 18, attorneys say they will ask for payouts of up to $10 million each for Maketa, former Undersheriff Paula Presley and former Cmdr. Juan "John" San Agustin.
The three were indicted in May on felony corruption charges during Maketa's turbulent third term in office.
"For years, people inside and outside of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, the ... District Attorney's Office for the Fourth Judicial District, and the Board of County Commissioners for El Paso County have been on a mission to demean and degrade Terrance "Terry" Maketa's public service," the letter states. "These entities and the employees thereof have recently been joined by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District and others in this malicious and defamatory process."
Notices of claim were served to more than 30 potential defendants, including current Sheriff Bill Elder, District Attorney Dan May, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and the top official in the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The claim notices are a first step to sue the agencies and their representatives in state court.
Claims of prosecutorial misconduct and unfair prosecution were previously aired in a bid to get criminal charges tossed, but they found little traction in court.
In late November, 4th Judicial District Judge Larry E. Schwartz dismissed several legal motions asking that the indictments be overturned.
The rulings cleared the way for their prosecutions to continue - potentially setting up what promise to be closely watched trials.
Maketa is scheduled for a two-week trial set to begin May 31.