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Convicted murderer may get retrial after presiding judge accused of affair with assistant DA who cross-examined defense witnesses and gave closing argument

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A convicted murderer in Oklahoma may get a retrial after it has come to light that the presiding judge was having an affair with the assistant district attorney who not only cross-examined defense witnesses but also gave the closing arguments, media outlets reported.

What are the details?

Robert Hashagen was convicted of killing his elderly neighbor, Evelyn Goodall, in 2013, KFOR-TV reported. He was sentenced to life in prison, KOKH-TV added.

Benjamin Munda — speaking to KFOR for himself and co-counsel Clay Curtis, both of whom represented Hashagen — said "we both firmly believe that we were treated extremely unfairly at trial. At the time, we didn’t know why. I think we have a much better idea of that now."

Turns out the presiding judge in Hashagen's trial — Tim Henderson — was having a "secret sexual relationship" for about two years with one of the prosecutors on the case, KFOR reported, citing court documents.

In fact, the assistant district attorney in question cross-examined two defense witnesses and gave the state's closing arguments, KOKH noted.

According to KFOR, that prosecutor has claimed Henderson sexually abused her, but Henderson said their relationship was consensual and said that he was "fair" during the Hashagen trial despite their relationship.

Henderson resigned in March after three other women — two of them prosecutors — leveled sexual misconduct allegations against him, KFOR added.

Another judge rules Hashagen entitled to retrial

Another judge assigned to weigh in on the scandal ruled Monday that Hashagen is entitled to a retrial, KFOR said.

Munda told KFOR that this new ruling indicates the judge's relationship with the prosecutor "created at least the appearance and substantial risk that the proceedings were unfair. It undermined the integrity and confidence in the judicial system and because of that [Hashagen] should be entitled to a new trial."

Munda also told the station that he's guessing "dozens to hundreds of cases ... were touched by the assistant district attorneys in question here in front of this particular judge, maybe thousands."

Now what?

KFOR reported that the Criminal Court of Appeals will look the new finding that Hashagen is entitled to a new trial and make a final determination.

Here's a report from earlier this year focusing on allegations against Henderson:

Documents allege inappropriate touching, sexual battery by Oklahoma judge youtu.be

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