Montana defense attorneys, Tim Baldwin and Phyllis and Jack Quatman, of the Quatman and Quatman, PC law firm in Flathead County, have revealed serious unethical and perhaps unlawful actions of prosecutors and Northwest Drug Task Force Agent in Flathead County, Montana and their attempt to cover it up. The seriousness of their actions caused
these defense attorneys to request an investigation to the Montana Attorney General. To date, the Attorney General’s Office has not responded to this request.
Below is a specific and egregious example of the prosecutors’ and officer’s unethical actions and their cover up.
Striking evidence that has been discovered against these prosecutors and officer is a phone recording between Northwest Drug Task Officer, McKeag Johns, and Kristina Franklin (the wife of Cory Franklin, who is Tim Baldwin’s client). This phone conversation took place on June 4, 2014 in Flathead County. In this conversation, Johns made the following egregious statements to Kristina Franklin:
- Johns threatened the Franklins to terminate Tim Baldwin as their attorney;
- Johns told Kristina that the entire Flathead County Attorney’s Office would go after Cory and Kristina Franklin if they did not fire Tim Baldwin;
- Johns claimed that Tim Baldwin is using Cory and Kristina Franklin for his own political agenda;
- Johns claimed that Tim Baldwin will hurt Cory and Kristina Franklin if he remained their attorney;
- Johns stated that Deputy County Attorney, Kenneth “Rusty” Park has a personal bias against Tim Baldwin and is mistreating Cory and Kristina Franklin in Cory’s cases because of Park’s bias;
- Flathead County Attorney, Ed Corrigan has a personal bias against Tim Baldwin;
- Ed Corrigan will not remove Park as prosecutor in Cory Franklin’s cases because he feels too strongly against Tim Baldwin;
- Ed Corrigan did not hire Tim Baldwin when he applied as a Deputy County Attorney because of his dislike for Tim Baldwin; and
- Officer Johns would like to help Kristina and Cory Franklin but cannot because Tim Baldwin is their attorney.
Johns continued these kinds of comments to Kristina for 26 minutes. This phone recording was transcribed. You can hear the audio and read the transcript directly below.
But Johns wasn’t the only government actor to make these threats to Kristina Franklin. According to Kristina Franklin, Deputy County Attorney, Kenneth Park did too.
As a result of learning of Park’s threats to Kristina, Tim Baldwin filed a motion to recuse Park as prosecutor in Cory Franklin’s cases. Kristina signed an affidavit detailing her conversation with Park.
Park denied these allegations in his Response filings with the Court, but the evidence shows differently. Too, Park never responded to Kristina Franklin’s affidavit detailing Officer Johns’ threats.
Given the seriousness of Park’s and Johns’ unlawful conduct, Tim Baldwin delivered a request for interviews for Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan, Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Park, Sheriff Chuck Curry and Agent Johns. Not one of them responded to this request. So, Tim Baldwin took the next step and filed a motion for order compelling their depositions. Very soon thereafter, Park filed a motion to dismiss DC-13-465 and DC-14-128.
Quite obviously, Corrigan, Park and Johns knew that Tim Baldwin possessed evidence of their unethical actions and knew that if these cases were not dismissed, public exposure was inevitable. So, to cover up these egregious actions, Corrigan and Park dismissed the cases.
After Park dismissed these cases, Tim Baldwin learned from his client that while Park and Johns were engaged in their unlawful and unethical acts, Park went to Cory’s probation officer and “asked” him to file a report of violation even though the probation officer told Cory that he was not going to do so unless Corry was actually convicted of a charge in DC-13-465 or DC-14-128. The probation officer admitted under oath on July 30, 2014 in front of Judge Heidi Ulbricht that Park, in fact, came to him and “asked” him to file a report of violation. Of course, the probation officer followed Park’s “request” and sought to punish Mr. Franklin further.
When learning of this, Tim Baldwin filed a Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions against Park alleging that he filed his petition to revoke Cory’s probation for an improper purpose; namely, to continue punishing Mr. Franklin because of his personal disdain for Tim Baldwin and for Mr. Franklin not firing Tim Baldwin as his attorney. Tim Baldwin sought sanctions against Corrigan too for his failure to properly supervise Park to prevent Park’s prosecutorial misconduct. A (three hour) hearing on that sanctions motion was heard on September 5, 2014 before Judge Heidi Ulbricht. Tim Baldwin called both Park and Corrigan to the stand to testify.
Under oath, Park denied having told Kristina Franklin what she swore to in her affidavit. Park also denied having told Officer Johns what Kristina Franklin swore to in her affidavit and what is recorded (see above). Based on the details of what Johns told Kristina Franklin about Park and Corrigan, there is evidently no doubt that Park and/or Corrigan told Johns what Johns told Kristina Franklin on the phone. Johns told Kristina Franklin information that he would not have otherwise known except through either Park or Corrigan. Plainly, Johns did not make up these statements on his own; he had knowledge from prior communications with Park or Corrigan. But Park tried to cover this up and denied–under oath–having told Johns these things.
Under oath, Corrigan stated he believed Kristina Franklin was lying about the substance of her affidavits concerning Park and Johns. Corrigan stated that he conducted his own “investigation” and determined that there was no truth to the substantive allegations in Kristina Franklin’s affidavits. Notably, Corrigan testified that when he interviewed Johns, Johns denied the substance of the conversation–and Corrigan believed him.
This, of course, begs the question, why did Park dismiss these cases if there was no truth to what Kristina Franklin said Park and Johns told her? In answering this question, Corrigan stated that he told Park to dismiss DC-13-465 and DC-14-128 because there was an “appearance of impropriety,” but he denied that there was any actual impropriety. Based on the evidence of the recording, however, we know Kristina Franklin was telling the truth and the prosecutors have attempted to cover up their unlawful actions.
Judge Heidi Ulbricht has taken the Rule 11 Sanctions Motion under advisement and is expected to have a ruling in October 2014. Relevant portions of the transcript of the 9/5/14 hearing will be provided on this webpage in the near future. But since Kristina Franklin has now consented to releasing the evidence of the audio recording, Tim Baldwin has filed a Request for Additional Hearing on Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions so McKeag Johns can be questioned under oath.
You can review the relevant court filings below:
- 2014-04-16 Office of Public Defender Assignment of Tim Baldwin
- 2014-05-02 Motion to Reset OMNI Hearing
- 2014-05-07 Deputy County Attorney Response to Motion to Reset OMNI Hearing
- 2014-05-27 Motion to Compel Discovery, For Sanctions, To Recuse Kenneth Park as Prosecutor (with exhibits)
- 2014-05-28 Affidavit Kristina Franklin re Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Park
- 2014-06-04 Affidavit of Kristina Franklin and Transcript of Phone Conversation with McKeag Johns
- 2014-06-06 Deputy County Attorney Response to Motion to Compel, For Sanctions, To Recuse Kenneth Park
- 2014-06-13 Affidavit Kristina Franklin re Officer McKeag Johns
- 2014-06-16 Reply to Deputy County Attorney Response to Motion to Compel, For Sanctions and To Recuse Kenneth Park
- 2014-06-17 Notice of Serving Interview Requests to Corigan, Park, Curry and Johns
- 2014-06-17 Request for Hearing on Motion to Compel, For Sanctions and To Recuse Kenneth Park
- 2014-06-25 Order Granting Defendant Motion for Request for Hearing
- 2014-06-30 Motion To Compel Depositions of Corrigan, Park, Curry and Johns
- 2014-07-02 Deputy County Attorney Motion to Dismiss
- 2014-07-16 Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions Against Park and Corrigan
- 2014-09-16 Kristina Franklin Affidavit of Releasing Audio
- 2014-09-16 Request for Additional Hearing on Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions
Other coverage on this story…
- Flathead Memo (2014-09-17)
- Northwest Liberty News (2014-09-17)
- PolyMontana (2014-09-17)
- Daily Interlake (2014-09-17)
- Daily Interlake (2014-09-17)
- Freedom Outpost (2014-09-18)
- Daily Interlake (2014-09-18)