Battery charge dropped - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Battery charge dropped

Former legislator Jorgenson accused of throwing server

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 1:11 am, Wed May 1, 2013.

COEUR d'ALENE - A judge has dismissed the case against former Republican state Sen. Mike Jorgenson, who was charged with misdemeanor battery for an incident at his Hayden restaurant.

Jorgenson, 64, of Hayden Lake, was accused of throwing a now-former bartender and server of his restaurant, The Copa, to the ground over a dispute over pay.

City of Coeur d'Alene chief criminal deputy attorney Wes Somerton filed a motion to dismiss the case in court late last week. A judge immediately approved it.

Jorgenson's trial was scheduled for this week.

Somerton said he reviewed the case file, witness statements, a 911 audio recording, security video and information provided upon further investigation, and "there appears to be reasonable doubt as to whether an unlawful battery had occurred," the motion said.

Somerton said Tuesday, "We spent a bunch of time in a very short period of time on (the case)."

The Kootenai County prosecutor's office had been handling the case from the beginning, in early February, but withdrew last week.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Tuesday, "Because I know Mr. Jorgenson, I excluded myself from any involvement in the case and had my criminal chief, Barry Black, provide supervision over the case to avoid any conflict-of-interest concerns."

Recently, Black discovered by viewing the video of the incident that he is acquainted with the alleged victim.

"I thought it best to send the case to the city under the circumstances even though it is late in the process," McHugh said.

Jorgenson's attorney, Robert Romero, said Jorgenson was leading the alleged victim out of the restaurant by the "scruff of the neck" when their legs got tangled up and they tripped and fell to the ground.

"When you see it frame-by-frame you can understand what happened in this incident," Romero said. "Nobody threw anybody against the ground."

He said they are relieved justice was ultimately served.

"We just wish that there would have been a little bit better investigation at the beginning," Romero said. "It was very costly and hurtful to Mike and his business."

Jorgenson, who served three terms in the Idaho Senate, didn't return a call seeking comment.

Jorgenson and his wife, Cynthia, opened The Copa in 2010, located at 9265 N. Government Way.

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9 comments:

  • catatak posted at 12:53 pm on Thu, May 2, 2013.

    catatak Posts: 23

    You are right skunkworks. The only person taking cash out was was the owner. Payroll bounced for 6+months. mismanagement, if not outright embezzlement /stealing, BY THE OWNER.

     
  • mister d posted at 6:03 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    OMG! There is no good reason to put your hands on an employee unless he is assaulting you and that does not appear to be the case.

     
  • Not4sale posted at 2:58 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Not4sale Posts: 131

    Mr. Jorgenson probably had a very good reason for escorting the disgruntled employee out the door. Furthermore, I have enjoyed several nice meals at The Copa and if Mike was to run for office again, I for one, would vote for him. This altercation should never have been published in the paper. Looks like a smear campaign.

     
  • Spikey posted at 2:03 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Spikey Posts: 353

    This was an assault plain and simple. It is beyond comprehension what passes for "law" here. You cannot take anyone by the scruff of the neck. Poor Mike, he has "suffered from this. Spare me Jorgenson, you are a bully pure and simple. I ate at the Copa once. Over priced and underwhelming. Several people have told me the same. My advice, try another restaurant, don't waste your palate or your money in this restaurant.

     
  • skunkworks posted at 1:53 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    Wrong Bob, It was Mike Stealing from his "Employee's" with his "Bounced Checks"...That's a " Fact " not a Probability...

     
  • XRGRSF posted at 12:42 pm on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    XRGRSF Posts: 126

    Grabbing someone by the neck is assault. There's no way around that unless, of course, you're "connected". If you or I had grabbed someone by the neck we would be arrested, and jailed because we aren't "connected". The man wouldn't have fallen if Jorgenson hadn't been "leading him by the neck", and that makes it battery, unless the assailant is "connected". It's obvious, from the article, that Jorgenson is 'connected" to just about everyone in local government.

    Now, ask yourself, do you think that the entire DA's office would look at a security camera's video frame by frame to see if Joe Citizen was innocent? Of course not, they would arrest, and jail Joe Citizen, and the prosecutor would hide or destroy the tape. Let's hear it for justice in Kootenai County WOOHOO!!!

    Oh, most likely the bartenders paycheck bounced.

     
  • skunkworks posted at 9:58 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    ["We just wish that there would have been a little bit better investigation at the beginning," Romero said. "It was very costly and hurtful to Mike and his business."]

    What a Crock.. MIKE did not Cooperate in the beginning.You Cant have your Cake and eat it too...


     
  • Bob Loblaw posted at 9:35 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 375

    Bartender was probably stealing cash. Pretty common with a cash business. He's lucky he only got 86'ed.

     
  • efromm posted at 7:38 am on Wed, May 1, 2013.

    efromm Posts: 659

    "Jorgenson was leading the alleged victim out of the restaurant by the "scruff of the neck" when their legs got tangled up and they tripped and fell to the ground."

    Hey Mike grabbing someone by the neck is an a zz kicking offense. Your lucky you were picking on a weak person. A strong one would have been grabbing you by the scruff of the neck. You were wrong to touch them in the first place. This whole I can treat my employees any way I want cause it's a right to work state has to stop. No wonder California passed all those laws. And guess who moves to Idaho starts up a business and takes advantage of those rules when they know better? You got it. Californians...

     
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