INDIANAPOLIS — The special prosecutor who convicted Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White of voter fraud and other felonies in 2012, which forced White out of office, has been appointed to handle any potential prosecution of Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr.
Marion Superior Judge Lisa Borges on Tuesday named Democratic former Adams County Prosecutor Daniel Sigler to an 18-month term as special prosecutor in Indianapolis, to assist in the investigation and lead any prosecution of the Republican attorney general.
Hill is accused of groping the backs and/or buttocks of four women, including state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, in the early morning hours of March 15 at a capital city bar during a party celebrating the end of the General Assembly's annual session.
Hill repeatedly has denied engaging in any inappropriate touching.
He also has hired private lawyers to pursue a civil defamation suit against currently unknown individuals who he claims spread "false and malicious" lies about his behavior at A.J.'s Lounge.
Indiana Inspector General Lori Torres this month began investigating the allegations against Hill at the request of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, all of whom have called on Hill to resign his office.
If Torres concludes that Hill's alleged groping amounts to criminal behavior, then Sigler would decide whether to charge Hill with a crime and head the prosecution of the state's chief law enforcement official.
Sigler did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment on his appointment.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, who requested a special prosecutor be named because Hill is, by law, representing Curry's office in unrelated civil litigation, referred all inquiries to Sigler.
Hill's private criminal law attorneys, James Voyles and Jennifer Lukemeyer, did not respond to a telephone message asking their reaction to Sigler's appointment.
Voyles and Lukemeyer on July 12 urged the judge to postpone any appointment of a special prosecutor, claiming it "does nothing more than create the impression and fuel the speculation that there was a crime committed or should be a criminal investigation."
Hill also has claimed the inspector general cannot conduct a fair investigation since she was appointed by Holcomb, and the governor already wants Hill to leave office in accordance with the state's "zero tolerance" harassment policy.
Under Indiana law, Hill automatically would lose his elected office immediately upon conviction for any felony crime.
That's what happened to the Republican secretary of state on Feb. 4, 2012, after Sigler convicted White on six felony charges, including voter fraud, for lying about his home residence by using his ex-wife's address on voter registration forms.
Half those convictions later were overturned on appeal. But White remains ineligible to hold state or local elected office, had to serve one-year home detention and his license to practice law continues to be suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court.
Sigler also won convictions as a special prosecutor for campaign finance violations by Democratic Fort Wayne Mayor Win Moses Jr. in 1985, and Republican Fort Wayne mayoral candidate Matt Kelty in 2008, according to court records.
He is a Chicago native and graduate of Valparaiso University Law School who was elected to five terms as Adams County prosecutor between 1979 and 1999.