OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A judge has released an order finding that a convicted killer is entitled to a new trial due to a sexual relationship between the judge in the case and one of the prosecutors.
“Me and my co-counsel, Clay Curtis, firmly believe that Robert Hashagen is innocent,” Benjamin Munda told KFOR.
“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,” Munda said.
That’s because after the trial in January of this year, a scandal at the Oklahoma County Courthouse came to light.
The judge presiding over Hashagen’s case was Tim Henderson. According to court documents, he and one of the prosecutors on the case were having a “secret sexual relationship” that lasted for about two years.
On Monday, a Canadian County judge assigned to look into the matter, released findings following an evidentiary hearing back in November. He found that Hashagen is entitled to a new trial.
“His ruling was essentially that it doesn’t matter whether it was consensual or not, it 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 should be entitled to a new trial,” Munda said.
While the prosecutor claims she was sexually abused by Henderson, he has said that it was consensual and said that he was “fair” during the trial despite the relationship.
Henderson resigned in March after three other women, two of them prosecutors, came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against him, which could end up impacting many more cases.
“My guess would be dozens to hundreds of cases that were touched by the assistant district attorneys in question here in front of this particular judge, maybe thousands,” Munda said.
It is now up to the Criminal Court of Appeals to look at the judge’s findings and determine whether Hashagen will receive a new trial.
D.A. David Prater told KFOR on Tuesday he will not be commenting until they make their decision.