Hecht’s ex: Special prosecutor needed
November 24, 2015
The victim in the domestic violence case against a wealthy Aspen developer wants a special prosecutor to be appointed because of alleged missteps by the District Attorney's Office.
That's according to a motion filed Tuesday by lawyers for Nikos Hecht's ex-girlfriend, who claim the DA's Office isn't fully investigating criminal allegations against Hecht, isn't consulting with his ex-girlfriend about decisions in the case, including a plea deal, and isn't enforcing a protection order meant to keep her safe.
Decisions in the case "should not be made quickly, in a vacuum, without a full investigation of the facts," according to the motion by lawyer Lauren Roberts. "They certainly should not be made in a manner which allows an influential defendant to get away with such violence and intimidation."
Hecht is charged with assault, harassment and menacing — all misdemeanors — in connection with an incident that occurred at his home in late July between him and his former girlfriend.
In the motion filed Tuesday, the victim claims the alleged physical abuse against her that occurred the night of July 26, including choking her and causing a head injury when he pushed her to the ground, constitutes felony charges, according to the motion. She also said that threats by Hecht to kill her and her family should be investigated.
A former prosecutor in the case, Michael Warren, was preparing to charge Hecht with more serious counts late last month when he "abruptly resigned," the motion states.
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Prosecutor Emily Nation, who took over from Warren, said Tuesday she was not aware of any plans by Warren to add to the charges against Hecht, though she is open to new information.
A phone message left Tuesday for Warren was not returned.
Next, the motion by the victim claims that Hecht violated a protection order against her when he attempted to contact her three times on Oct. 10 using the Apple application Facetime. Investigators from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office have filed search warrants seeking information from Apple about the contacts, according to court documents.
However, the victim claims that deputies were ready to arrest Hecht for violating the no-contact portion of the protection order, but the DA's Office stopped them and ordered that Hecht's phone be further examined, according to the motion.
Nation said Tuesday the possible violation is still being investigated.
Finally, the victim claims in the motion that the DA's Office offered Hecht a plea deal without first consulting her about the terms. That deal was withdrawn, according to the motion, after the victim complained that she wasn't consulted.
But Nation said that simply isn't true.
"I had a very long meeting with (the victim) and (her lawyer) during which we discussed this plea offer," Nation said Tuesday.
After that discussion, she offered the deal to Hecht through his attorney on Nov. 18, she said. But that same day, Nation discovered the victim was unhappy with the offer and didn't feel like she'd had the opportunity to provide all the input she wanted, so Nation withdrew the offer the same day, she said.
She said she's been trying to reach the victim to have that conversation since then, but hasn't been able to get in touch with her.
Hecht's ex-girlfriend also claims that she was never consulted about a motion Hecht filed last week granting him permission to travel to New York City, Palm Beach, Florida, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in the near future.
Nation confirmed that she indeed did not consult the victim about Hecht's travel plans because her office does not consider him a flight risk. Also, she said she made sure Hecht had incorporated sobriety monitoring into his travel plans before approving them. He will be tested the day before he leaves for any travel and the day he comes back, she said.
"The judge previously granted a travel motion," Nation said. "Our office routinely allows travel unless a person is considered a flight risk."
She said she expects her office to object to appointing a special prosecutor in the case and that Hecht is not receiving special attention.
"My goal with this case is to treat Mr. Hecht like any other defendant," Nation said. "I'm certainly not going to give him any more lenient treatment than anyone else."
Pamela Mackey, Hecht's Denver-based attorney, did not return a phone message Tuesday afternoon.