INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's former top utility regulator has asked the state appeals court to head off his trial on official misconduct charges because he is undergoing treatment for a life-threatening bone marrow disease.
David Lott Hardy was indicted in December on charges that as chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission he allowed the agency's top lawyer to keep overseeing cases involving Duke Energy, where the attorney was trying to land a job.
Hardy's doctor wrote in court documents that he has made more than 20 clinical visits during the past two years for treatment including blood transfusions for severe aplastic anemia, The Indianapolis Star reported in a story Wednesday (http://indy.st/SoCNWM ). Hardy suffers from fatigue and has been slow to recover, wrote Dr. Robert Nelson Jr., a clinical immunologist at Indiana University's Simon Cancer Center.
A Marion County judge in June rejected Hardy's request to have the indictment dismissed. Hardy's lawyers argued the charges are too broad and seek to impose criminal liability for violating administrative rules.
In a legal filing made Sept. 17, defense attorney David Hensel also asked the appeals court to consider the constitutionality of the criminal charges and his health condition.
Hensel said that resolving the legal questions could avoid the need "for a costly and lengthy trial." If the appeal court sided with Hardy's arguments before a trial, it would also eliminate the need for Hardy to undergo what could be a physically demanding ordeal, Hensel said in his motion.
"Requiring Hardy to stand trial will further deteriorate his already fragile health," he wrote.
The Marion County prosecutor's office plans to argue against dismissing the charges and will push for Hardy to face trial, spokeswoman Brienne Delaney said.
The indictment also charges that Hardy failed to disclose conversations he had with Duke executives over the rising costs of the $3.3 billion coal-gasification plant the company is building near the southwestern Indiana town of Edwardsport.
Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy in October 2010 after an internal review showed that Scott Storms, who was the utility commission's top attorney and an administrative law judge, discussed a position with Duke while presiding over hearings concerning the company.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com