LOGAN Cache County Attorney George Daines has denied allegations that prosecutors embellished testimony from a witness in a Providence pain doctor's sexual assault trial.
Friday, Daines called an afternoon news conference to rebut the witness's statement to FBI agents that prosecutors and police officers helped "fill in the missing pieces" of her story.
"I categorically deny that in any way this office coerced, embellished or caused any witness to exaggerate testimony," Daines said.
The FBI summary of the witness's statement became public Friday morning when it was submitted in 1st District Court in support of a motion to set the doctor's conviction aside. After hearing the witness's testimony, a jury convicted Ray Bedell of misdemeanor sexual battery in March 2007.
The FBI summary said the witness "recalled several meetings with Daines where he would go over the same questions many times, and the facts she recalled and originally told to (police detective Bret) Randall became more and more embellished."
The witness told the FBI that Bedell had popped her back, then put his hands "on her upper body near her breasts but not directly on them at any time."
"This incident was embellished by Randall and Daines to seem like Dr. Bedell had grabbed her breasts when, in fact, she does not believe that he was trying to 'cop a feel,"' according to the witness statement to the FBI.
Daines provided the media with the witness's statement to police, a trial transcript, a transcript of a police interview and other documents that indicate her statements were consistent. For example, she said at least twice that Bedell had fondled her nipples.
"This clearly disproves that my office or I coerced or caused any embellishment of her testimony," Daines said in a prepared statement.
Daines said the FBI has not interviewed him or said he was under investigation. At Daines' request, William K. McGuire of the Davis County Attorney's Office is investigating allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in the Bedell case.
Neither Bedell nor the attorney who represented him in the trial could be reached for comment. Bedell acted as his own attorney in filing the motion to set the verdict aside.
Although Bedell, 47, was found guilty of one misdemeanor, the same jury acquitted him of two felony counts of sexual battery, stemming from allegations he fondled other female patients. In separate trial in May 2007, Bedell was acquitted on similar charges of forcible sexual abuse and sexual battery.
His sentencing has not been scheduled.
The Deseret News is withholding the name of the witness the FBI interviewed because the newspaper does not identify victims of possible sexual assault. Although the witness had gone through a drug-diversion program, she was recently jailed in Box Elder County, Daines said. She testified in court she was a drug addict who obtained pain pill prescriptions from Bedell and other doctors.
Although she said neither the FBI nor the police promised her anything in exchange for her testimony, she expected favorable treatment. But when she tried to reach Daines to ask for help with her latest incarceration, Daines said he declined.Daines said he relayed a message to her "that we could not intervene in any way."
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