Sunday, December 20, 2015

Could California Clerk's Alleged Lies Clear Ex-Con's Name?

by Tracy Connor
Dec. 16, 2015

A former California county clerk is in hot water for allegedly fabricating death threats against herself — and that could be good news for a man who was convicted of assaulting her nearly two decades ago.

Roger Steiner spent 19 years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of viciously attacking Karen Mathews Davis as part of a bizarre tax-protest conspiracy.

Steiner, who had always maintained Davis lied about the attack, had just gotten out of prison when he was suddenly under scrutiny again.

Davis, who was then running for Congress, claimed she received two death threats in the mail — and once again tried to cast blame on Steiner, court documents show.

But federal investigators say Davis made up the threats. And now Steiner is hoping that convinces prosecutors to reopen his long-ago case and clear his name.

"If she lied now, that substantiates my story that she lied back then," Steiner, 77, told NBC News.

"I see her as evil, with a criminal mind."


Federal prosecutors who charged Davis with lying to investigators confirmed last week that they are now "reviewing" Steiner's 1997 conviction.


By the time he was released to a halfway house in late 2013, Davis was no longer a county clerk. She retired in 2001 after a grand jury accused her of misusing her credit card, hiring her son and making her secretary work on her book, and using the county FedEx account to ship the manuscript to movie producers — allegations she said were "biased and unsupported."

But after leaving the clerk's office, she wasn't done with politics; in fact, she was planning to run for Congress.

Shortly before the official launch of her ill-fated campaign, she contacted a Treasury Department agent and reported she had received a threatening letter filled with eerily familiar anti-government language.

"A close up shot to your head or to your husband will be final," it said. "You make the decision now not to run for Congress.'


By then, investigators had determined that based on logs from the halfway house, Steiner could not have sent the letters. And in early 2015, they asked Davis to take a polygraph test, which she failed, the court papers say.

Davis admitted she wrote and sent both notes herself, court documents say. She was charged in October and is free on $50,000 bond.


He said he planned to be in court for Davis' next court date to make sure the judge doesn't go easy on her. At the same time, he said, he feels "a little bit of compassion" for his accuser.

"I can't be angry because people around me are stupid," he said. "I'm not angry at her. I feel sorry for her... You know how much mental baggage that poor woman is carrying on her shoulders?

"I'm just grateful that it did come down to this," he added. "All these years what kind of kept me together was knowing it's a matter of time before she gets caught in her own lies."

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