RUPERT • Called as a witness in Alicia Daniel’s preliminary hearing on Friday, former Minidoka County Sheriff Kevin Halverson testified that the two had a romantic relationship for years that evolved into a sexual one.
Daniel was charged with felony forgery for allegedly falsifying her work timecards at the Sheriff’s Office after months of investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office, which also resulted in a felony charge of misuse of public funds by a public officer filed against Halverson.
Halverson was charged for using a county gas card to put fuel in Daniel’s car.
As Halverson spoke from the witness stand on Friday, he glanced frequently at Daniel. Halverson admitted meeting with Daniel in Boise on two occasions when Halverson was attending conferences. On the days she met with Halverson in Boise, Daniel had called in sick at work.
Halverson told the court he had no knowledge that she had called in sick during those times.
State prosecutor Jason Slade Spillman questioned former county Undersheriff Vic Watson, who was in charge of the timecards, about the county sick policy.
Watson said, although county policy limits the use of sick time, it was his policy not to check-up on a person calling in sick to see if they were actually ill.
Daniel’s attorney, Joseph Filicetti, argued his client had earned those sick days and just because she was sick and could not perform her job — did not mean she was unable to go and do other things.
Filicetti said if Daniel had compensation time on the books that she could take a “mental health day,” if she needed to.
“Can you imagine all the turmoil you’d have if you were having an office affair and things aren’t going well with that person and that causes additional stressors in your life?” Filicetti said.
Filicetti said the timecard and comp-time problems are administrative issues rather than criminal ones. Daniel never intended to to defraud the county, said.
“This was not a mistake,” Spillman shot back.
Spillman said her actions constitute repeated fraud and abuse of a relationship with a county department head.
Sheriff’s Office employees Maria Galindo and Beverly Lallman also testified on Friday.
Galindo, who worked across the foyer from Daniel, kept track of when Daniel arrived and left her post.
Lallman said Daniel often confided in her about her relationship with Halverson.
“She knew she’d gained some favor with the sheriff and she took advantage of that,” said Spillman.
Filicetti said the defense called no witnesses during the preliminary hearing because the burden of proof in the case rested on the prosecutor.
“She’ll get her chance to give her version of it in district court,” Filicetti told the Times-News after the hearing “We stipulated that she was the person involved in all of this but we didn’t stipulate that a crime was committed.”
Halverson pleaded guilty to the charge of misuse of public funds by a public officer and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, a term he will begin serving Feb. 1.