Ex-sheriff Maketa headed back to trial in October
Ex-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is headed for another trial to face the four corruption-related charges that deadlocked a previous jury.
The re-trial of Maketa was set for Oct. 3 during a conference call Monday morning overseen by 4th Judicial District Judge Larry E. Schwartz.
The move came as gubernatorial candidate and 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler faced a dilemma: Retry Maketa and possibly alienate El Paso County’s Republican base, or risk facing accusations of letting the once-popular lawman skate on sweeping corruption charges, a longtime political observer said.
Brauchler and prosecutors handling the case declined to comment through a spokeswoman after the hearing, citing an ongoing gag order in the case.
Last week, Maketa was acquitted on three charges and had a deadlocked jury on his four other counts.
Among the remaining counts are two extortion charges alleging that Maketa threated to yank a $5-million-per-year healthcare contract unless the contractor fired a woman who had crossed him politically.
He also faces two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct.
How the previous Maketa jury split is so far a mystery, because panelists declined to address reporters and attorneys after delivering verdicts.
Check back at gazette.com for more information as the story develops.