FAIRVIEW — The prosecutor who filed a controversial perjury charge against an Enid attorney has been fired.
“That's kind of the bottom line. It cost me my job,” said Danny Lohmann, 57, who was an assistant district attorney in Major County.
“I think attorneys should follow the same law as anybody else,” he said Friday. “I did what was right under the law ... and I can sleep well at night.”
The felony case against attorney Eric Nathan Edwards attracted widespread attention when a judge sealed it from public view. The Enid News & Eagle, a daily newspaper, learned the perjury charge had been filed and challenged the secrecy surrounding it.
Another judge in July dismissed the case and on Tuesday ordered that the records be made public — for a week.
District Attorney Hollis Thorp, who oversees in five northwestern Oklahoma counties, fired Lohmann Aug. 30. Lohmann worked for Thorp for four years.
“He said there were a lot of factors, but he wouldn't tell me what they were,” Lohmann said. “I was very surprised.”
Thorp told The Oklahoman his firing of the assistant had nothing to do with the perjury case filed in May. He said he would have fired Lohmann earlier if that had been the reason.
“No, that's not the reason. That's definitely not the reason,” Thorp said Friday.
He declined to explain his grounds for the firing. He said he did not want to say negative things.
In the felony charge, Edwards, 44, was accused of threatening another attorney during a heated divorce hearing in February and of later lying — under oath — about what he said.
Edwards lied when he denied in April that he had said the other attorney was going to “get her ass kicked,” according to the charge. Edwards claims he actually had said he was going to file an appeal.
Edwards had represented the wife in the divorce proceedings in Majors County District Court.
The perjury case ended up with a new judge and a new prosecutor in part because of the controversy.
Grady County District Judge Richard Van Dyck in July dismissed the charge at the request of Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater.
Prater reported to the judge that he found no merit to prosecuting the charge. Prater said Friday, “There was a lack of evidence to support the charge.”
Records in the case show that neither the judge presiding over the divorce hearing nor the court reporter heard the alleged threat.
Edwards' attorney, Stephen Jones, said Friday, “Danny Lohmann acted irresponsibly without the knowledge or support of his boss. It was a malicious prosecution.”
Lohmann insisted that his boss was notified the perjury charge was going to be filed. Thorp denied that, saying he was not told ahead of time. Thorp said, “I would have rather he had, but I wouldn't say I was upset about it.”
The Grady County judge, Van Dyck, agreed after a hearing Tuesday that the public should have access to the records in the perjury case.
“The court finds the newspaper has a First Amendment right to publish the news as it finds it,” Van Dyck said, according to the Enid News & Eagle. “The public needs to know what its elected officials are up to. The public has a right to know.”
The records will be sealed again next week, at Edwards' request. That is not unusual. Dismissed criminal charges — particularly those where defendants have completed deferred sentences — often are removed from public view.
The judge who sealed the case in May had questioned Lohmann's motivation for filing the charge.
“In this instance, fairness required there be more investigation before the matter was publicized. That's the basis upon which I did it,” Woods County District Judge Ray Dean Linder said of sealing the case.
Linder's action was widely criticized in the media and renewed public attention to the issue of secrecy in the courts.