Jan 10, 2020 1:00 PM

Judge won't move trial of mayor who's also subject of recall

Posted Jan 10, 2020 1:00 PM

BROKEN BOW, Neb. (AP) - A judge has refused to move the trial of a central Nebraska mayor who's also facing a recall election.

Broken Bow Mayor Jonathon Berghorst has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a trial date of Jan. 29 on allegations that he threatened the job of a police officer investigating a fight outside a bar for which the mayor also has been charged.

Berghorst had asked that his trial be held somewhere other than Custer County, saying he doesn't think he can receive a fair trial there. Station KCNI reported that Berghorst and his attorney, Christopher Wickham, submitted to the judge copies of media articles, an editorial and a postcard referring to the mayor.

Wickham told Judge Tami Schendt on Thursday that the publicity about the charges and the published grievances filed by Broken Bow police officers make it nearly impossible for a jury pool to be unbiased.

But Schendt rejected the request, saying there wasn't enough evidence of a tainted jury pool.

Recall election ballots have been mailed to Broken Bow's registered voters and are due back by Tuesday. Berghorst has denied the recall petition arguments that he's created a hostile work environment and hasn't shown respect for department heads and volunteer boards.