Grand jury does not charge LaPorte County prosecutor

2014-05-09T17:12:00Z 2014-05-09T21:27:20Z Grand jury does not charge LaPorte County prosecutorStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 09, 2014 5:12 pm  • 

A grand jury has decided not to pursue charges against LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi, who had signed the names of his ex-wife and a notary public on legal documents involving his divorce.

The grand jury ruled there was insufficient evidence that Szilagyi knowingly or intentionally committed Class C felony forgery and Class D felony counterfeiting in a decision released publicly on Friday.

Szilagyi on Tuesday lost his bid for a second term in the Democratic primary election to John Espar, But Szilagyi said he doubts if the outcome of the election would have changed much had the grand jury's decision come out before the election.

He did say the case had been decided before he was elected prosecutor in 2010 or shortly afterward, the outcome of the election could have been more favorable.

Szilagyi said he's now going to discuss with his attorney, Michael Drayton, the possibility of filing a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for malicious prosecution, and discuss whether to begin the process of seeking criminal charges.

Under Indiana law, Szilagyi said malicious acts with intent to do things like influence an election is a Class D felony.

"There's a possibility I could ask for the special prosecutor to look at the case," said Szilagyi.

The decision to take the case to a grand jury for review was made by James Fleming, the senior special prosecutor from Howard County who looked over the case to determine if criminal charges should be pursued.

Fleming, brought in to avoid a conflict of interest, when reached Friday declined comment.

In 2009, Szilagyi signed the documents in the name of his ex-wife, Susan, on documents related to the refinancing of the couple's home as part of the divorce settlement to correct a mistake.

She signed her new last name, Weinkauff, on the refinancing papers but should have signed the last name Szilagyi.

Szilagyi said she gave him permission to make the correction himself on her behalf and there was no attempt to commit fraud because the divorce settlement, including property division, had already been agreed to by the judge.

He also signed the name of his secretary as notary public on the documents, though, something he did not have permission to do and a decision Szilagyi said was wrong.

In 2012, Szilagyi's law license was suspended for 60 days by the Indiana Supreme Court citing misconduct.

Criminal charges were later examined after his ex-wife filed a motion to have the case reviewed for prosecution.

Szilagyi said the case going this far was politically motivated.

He alleged his former wife was represented by attorneys whose services were provided at no cost to try and return to their former positions as deputy prosecutors if his opponent, John Espar, was elected.

Espar received 70 percent of the vote to defeat Szilagyi.

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