PORTAGE — Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer is seeking a special prosecutor to replace the LaPorte County prosecutor in his criminal case.
Meer argues that the LaPorte County prosecutor's office has "a special interest" in defending itself against accusations of conspiracy and political motives for pursuing the charges against the mayor.
"There are significant preliminary indicia that this prosecution has been initiated as part of a personal political agenda by Mr. (John) Lake as opposed to part of his duties as the LaPorte County Prosecuting Attorney, and it is a certainty that the defense will pursue significant discovery mechanisms with that office to pursue evidence of such impropriety," according to a petition filed by Meer's defense attorney Scott King.
Questioning the "legal and ethical propriety" of the allegations against his client, King said the entire prosecutor's office is "likely to be subject to deposition and other discovery devices during the prosecution of this matter."
A hearing on the request for a special prosecutor is scheduled for Tuesday before Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Thode, where the case was moved after LaPorte County judges declined to hear it.
Meer was arrested and booked into jail Wednesday in LaPorte County in the wake of Thode confirming probable cause for the criminal charges, according to court documents. Meer reportedly posted a cash bond of $1,505 and was released from jail.
Meer, who lost his bid for reelection earlier this month just days after the criminal charges were filed against him, is accused of fabricating a story with Michigan City police in an attempt to clear his stepson from a separate criminal case and frame Lake as a conspirator in his son’s arrest, according to charging documents.
Meer is accused of calling then-Police Chief Mark Swistek and claiming a confidential informant showed up at his home Oct. 14. Meer is accused of concocting a narrative in which his stepson, Adam Bray, who had been arrested just days earlier on drug and gun possession charges, had been set up by authorities and that the sting was "politically motivated."
Swistek, who has since resigned along with two assistant chief's in the wake of the allegations against Meer, discovered that Meer's story was fabricated, according to charges.
Meer is further accused of lying to police in an attempt to punish the officers involved in the case against his stepson.
Meer faces five felony counts of intimidation, a felony count of official misconduct as a public servant and two misdemeanor counts of false informing, according to court records.
In the petition for a special prosecutor, King argues that Lake claimed a confidential informant told Meer that he or she had been directed by members of the prosecutor's office and LaPorte County Drug Task Force to "set up and target Adam Bray for political reasons."
"This allegation standing alone creates an untenable conflict of interest for the office of the LaPorte Prosecuting Attorney," King said.
Meer had opposed Lake's 2018 election.
The incumbent Democratic mayor, who had been seen as a favorite to win reelection, lost the general election Nov. 5 to Duane Parry, a Republican.