More witnesses testify in case against former El Paso County sheriff Terry Maketa

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Toxic and hostile – that’s how one witness who took the stand against former sheriff Terry Maketa Wednesday described the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in 2013.

Seventeen witnesses have now been called in the trial, with prosecutors trying to prove Maketa abused his power while in office.

Wednesday’s testimony focused on the missing Bill Elder file. The prosecution claimed the file was removed for political revenge.

Targeting Bill Elder supporters in the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office – that’s what one witness said on the stand Wednesday morning.

Lieutenant Cheryl Peck took the stand where testimony focused on the internal file of Elder. That will was discovered missing in April 2013.

Lt. Peck said she immediately called her supervisor to report the disappearance. She said the missing file “can’t be good.”

An investigation was then launched and ordered by Maketa.

Peck said Maketa wanted to knock Elder out of the sheriff’s race and drew attention to the missing file.

She claims Maketa told her if “everything went the way he wanted it to go, then the media and community would see that Bill Elder was crooked and dirty.”

When the defense questioned Peck, she said supporters of Elder could have been behind the disappearance to hide incriminating information on him.

Peck told the jury that politics were entering the sheriff’s department, with some deputies openly showing support for Elder.

Maketa’s attorney said the investigation went along with protocol and that a number of people had access to the Internal Affairs office and that anyone could have taken the file.

The trial will resume Thursday morning.

Judge Larry Schwartz expected the trial to last two weeks, but because the trial is moving faster than anticipated, he expects closing arguments to begin Monday.

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