Rod Overkill

Who is fueling Multnomah’s over-prosecution of Andrew Long?

Last month, Portland attorney Edward Andrew Long unanimously won his first foray into the Oregon Supreme Court, in a case against him that the state bar probably wishes they had never brought.

Next Monday, March 16, it’s Multnomah County District Attorney (MCDA) Rod Underhill’s turn. Long faces prosecution by his office for a frankly ridiculous fifteen counts of telephonic harassment. That’s one count per day for fifteen consecutive days, each for sending a text message.

While all misdemeanor charges, Long — a man with no prior or subsequent criminal record — could face up to twelve years in jail for those fifteen texts.

Long sent them to his former legal assistant and confidant Morgana Alderman, whom he had learned was maliciously communicating with his physically abusive ex-wife and attempting to effect the outcome of their custody and divorce battle.

While unpleasant, the communications represent the upset of a father rightly concerned about the welfare of his children, and a man disturbed by the childish interference of a trusted employee and friend.

Years ago Alderman moved to Florida, but MCDA now needs her to appear in Oregon court on Monday so they can close the deal on their fanatical, lengthy, and resource-draining prosecution of Long.

The trial will be their second attempt at the matter — it was postponed from last August until Monday due to the hospitalization of a key witness for the defense. Alderman, a college student, made the trip from Florida to Oregon for that trial, and her school schedule dictated the date of the trial’s reset to this month.

I was curious who paid for Alderman’s flights and hotel last August, so I submitted a records request of MCDA and the state’s Victim Compensation Fund for any records on point.

Neither had any responsive records except a single FedEx receipt for some spiral-bound trial exhibits.

In other words, the alleged victim in this mess, Morgan Alderman, is not receiving any compensation from the state fund that provides compensation to actual crime victims. Alderman does not have any receipts.

So who did pay for Alderman’s airfare and hotel? Does MCDA make college student victims pay to participate in order to receive justice, or is someone else bankrolling this case?

If it’s the latter, it raises the specter that a private party — one not accountable to the Oregon public — decides what cases get paid for and prosecuted in Multnomah County.

Long’s case is not the kind of case that District Attorney Rod Underhill would normally go hard after. Underhill, who announced his retirement last June, has focused his office’s efforts on major crime such as gang activity and human trafficking. Underhill has also advocated for probation programs as alternatives to prison.

So why is Underhill dragging this misedemeanor matter into its third year? Why has there been no attempt to settle the case or offer some sort of deal? Who has the type of influence to compel otherwise professional-seeming prosecutors to stop caring what their conduct looks like from an outsider’s perspective? Is the state bar driving this or is someone else?

The answer to that question might be in the 911 call made on November 30, 2017. The same call that the City of Portland refuses to provide a copy of, despite repeated public records requests.

More on that next week.