Trial set for Tuesday

Alexis Barker, News Edtior

After more than a year and a half of back and forth between the News Letter Journal and the Board of Weston County Commissioners regarding the secret ballots used to select the replacement for former Rep. Hans Hunt in 2021, a judge will finally determine if the voting method used by the commissioners violated Wyoming’s Open Meetings Law and the state’s Public Records Acts.


Also to be determined is the legality of using text messages by a quorum of the commissioners to make decisions and discuss county business after Judge Stuart S. Healy III, of the District Court in the Sixth Judicial District, in a Feb. 21 hearing, accepted the plaintiff’s request to amend lawsuit to include those messages in their lawsuit. 


During the February hearing, Bruce Moats, who is representing the NLJ, Kari Drost, Patricia Bauman and Raymond Norris, asked that the hearing take place in Weston County, and Healy agreed. The case is scheduled to be heard by the judge on May 23 beginning at 1 p.m. in the Weston County Courthouse’s upstairs courtroom. 


In preparation for court, Moats took depositions from four of the five involved parties — current commissioners Ed Wagoner, Nathan Todd and Don Taylor, as well as former commissioner Marty Ertman — on April 14. Since that time, he has also deposed Jeremiah Reiman, the executive director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association. 


According to Moats, former commissioner Tony Barton was not deposed before court as part of his strategic plan. He did confirm, though, that Barton has been subpoenaed to appear in court. 


The hearing will be open to the public.

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