Prosecutor details 'bribery' evidence against Terry Bean, lawyer
Explosive new allegations have been introduced in the twice-filed sex abuse case against prominent Oregon donor and activist Terry Bean, with prosecutors for the first time detailing statements by the alleged victim and his then-attorney to suggest the wealthy developer committed witness-tampering and bribed the alleged victim in 2015.
The statements and newly obtained evidence shows "communications and collusion" between Bean's lawyer and the lawyer for the witness, according to the Aug. 30 motion filed by prosecutors in Lane County Circuit Court. The motion reveals the details of the alleged victim's claim that he was paid to not testify in the criminal case, and says his then-lawyer, Lori Deveny, also engaged in a "conspiracy" with Bean's attorney, Derek Ashton, "to absent her client ... for a sum of money, from subpoena service and his consequential unavailability to testify at the pending criminal trial," according to the Aug. 30 filing.
The filing details new emails, text messages, cell call records, bank statements and legal bills obtained by police obtained as well as a new witness who surfaced following a Feb. 27, 2019 Portland Tribune article.
The prosecution's filing represents a significant development in the long-running case, and suggests Ashton, a former Multnomah County prosecutor, may face legal trouble of his own.
"Let's finish these guys," Ashton wrote to the victim's lawyer in an Aug. 26, 2015 text message, according to the prosecution filing. The text encouraged the victim's lawyer to show up to a criminal hearing to represent her client as the case was about to fall apart, the filing said.
Ashton denied wrongdoing after prosecutors in June of this year told a judge the lawyer had been implicated in a bribery allegation concerning the Bean case, as first reported by Willamette Week. Ashton then filed an Aug. 23, 2019 motion in the Bean case demanding access to any evidence of bribery and predicting it would be "weak."
Asked for comment on Friday, Ashton referred the Tribune to his filing. His partner, Clifford Davidson, who is also representing Bean, in an subsequent email to the Tribune portrayed Bean's alleged victim as motivated by money.
"The message they are now sending to every attorney in the state is that if you settle a civil lawsuit when a criminal case is pending, then a desperate prosecutor might subsequently charge you with a crime," Davidson said. "That is not the law and it should not be the policy of the state."
Case dropped, then refiled
Lane County prosecutors first filed charges against Bean in 2014 for allegedly having sex with a then-15-year old in a Eugene hotel room, only to have the case fall apart when the witness, dubbed "M.S.G.," refused to testify. It later came out that Bean had paid the witness $220,000, which Bean claimed was to settle a potential lawsuit, rather than affect the criminal case — a key distinction, since witness-tampering is a crime
The witness, however, last fall contacted authorities claiming his lawyer, Lori Deveny, had failed to pay him the full settlement, and began cooperating with law enforcement again, as first reported by Willamette Week. Lane prosecutors filed a new case against Bean in January 2019.
The new filing includes an affidavit by Portland Police Detective Jeff Myers, who has been leading the investigation. Myers describes MSG's statements to police starting last fall, and what his former lawyer, Deveny, said as well. Both claimed the payment was intended to affect the criminal case, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also details the new physical evidence obtained after investigating a friend of Deveny, a Portland lawyer named Deanna Wray. In February the Tribune first reported that a Portland law firm, Bodyfelt Mount LLP, had filed a bar complaint against Wray. The firm's complaint said it had received information that Wray had participated in a "plan to conceal" a witness in the Bean case — which Wray, to the Tribune, denied.
According to Myers' affidavit, the detective contacted Bodyfelt Mount the day after the Tribune article published. He eventually spoke with a former legal assistant to Wray who'd come forward to the firm after reading about MSG's claims in Willamette Week.
In an April 4 interview, that assistant, Heather Coffey, told police that she was paid to help hide Deveny's client — apparently MSG — and his mother in Wray's family cabin in Pine Hollow in Warnie, Oregon.
To avoid police tracking down the alleged victim for purposes of testifying, the effort involved a "burner" cell phone and the disabling a rental car's "LoJack" tracking device.
Meanwhile, Myers obtained warrants for cell phone text records, emails, and bank records. Bank records showed that Deveny wrote a $1,500 check to Coffey on July 29, 2015.
Davidson, Ashton's partner and one of Bean's lawyers, in emails questioned prosecutors' characterization of witness statements and said it was a prosecution victim's advocate who connected MSG with Deveny for purposes of legal representation.
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