Prosecutor denies charge is vindictive
DES MOINES (AP) — A prosecutor is denying allegations that a fraud charge filed against a former Iowa judge is retribution for her efforts to challenge Gov. Terry Branstad’s administration.
Assistant Polk County Attorney Jaki Livingston says her office was unaware of former Administrative Law Judge Susan Ackerman’s activities as a whistleblower when it charged her with felony insurance fraud last fall.
She says the prosecution is motivated by Ackerman’s “fraudulent behavior not retaliatory” for her role helping expose a hostile environment for judges who worked at Iowa Workforce Development.
Ackerman is accused of lying on insurance forms to give her adult daughter state health coverage. The state fired the 15-year judge over the same allegation two years ago, and pursued the criminal investigation.
Ackerman has asked a judge to dismiss the case, arguing the prosecution “is selective and vindictive.” A hearing’s set for next month