A judge has dismissed a case against a Musselshell County commissioner charged earlier this year with lying to police about an incident in which he said he was pushed by a county resident.
Commissioner Robert Goffena maintained in an interview Tuesday that he was in fact pushed by a county resident following a heated exchange in March at the Musselshell County Courthouse. Officers with the sheriff’s office responded to the incident and he was initially charged with making a false statement to law enforcement after surveillance footage taken at the courthouse appeared to contradict his claims, according to charging documents.
The case was dismissed Oct. 24 by Big Horn County Justice of the Peace Leroy Not Afraid, who was brought in as an outside judge to handle the case in Musselshell County Justice Court. Goffena’s case had been scheduled to go to a jury trial on Wednesday.
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“This is all a political thing that’s going on,” Goffena said, accusing the undersheriff that responded for failing to investigate the incident fully. “I was totally positive I was pushed. If you look at the video, you can see my reaction. It was all to make us look as bad as possible, because they didn’t want me to run for re-election.”
Yellowstone County Deputy Attorney Morgan Dake, brought in to serve as an outside prosecutor in the case, had moved for dismissal Oct. 19 on that basis that prosecutors were unable to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Dake did not return phone calls requesting more information Monday and Tuesday.
Another commissioner involved in the incident, Thomas Berry, was acquitted of the same charge the previous week.
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