Ex-prosecutor blames father's kidnapping for misconduct

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2017 7:15 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former North Carolina prosecutor says she withheld evidence from defense attorneys in a robbery trial because she was upset about her father's kidnapping.

Media outlets report Colleen Janssen, who resigned from her job as Wake County prosecutor in July, now faces possible sanctions. Attorneys representing her and the state bar went before a judge on Wednesday to discuss what led to the misconduct allegations.

Janssen was prosecuting a robbery case in October 2014 when emails surfaced showing Janssen communicating with Raleigh police Sgt. James Battle. Janssen asked Battle to delay pressing charges against her star witness, fearing it would hurt his credibility.

Janssen's attorney, Joseph Zeszotarski, says Janssen's misconduct was tied to stress that had overwhelmed her after her father, Frank Janssen, was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home in April 2014 and taken to Atlanta under the direction of a man she had prosecuted in 2012.

State bar attorney Patrick Murphy argued Janssen's deceit was deliberate.

The hearing continues Thursday.