HAMILTON - Former Stevensville Mayor Brandon Dewey made his first appearance on theft charges, with indications he plans to fight the allegations.
Dewey appeared before Ravalli County District Court Judge Howard Recht on Wednesday morning, a week after the County Attorney's Office filed felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from his time in office.
As we reported first last week, Dewey — who left office after losing his re-election last fall — came under investigation after the current Stevensville Town leadership noticed "red flags" causing them to launch a financial investigation.
At issue is a fight over Dewey unsuccessfully seeking reimbursement for defense against his 2020 recall, retroactive compensation for council service, filing in for vacant staff and providing severance pay for departing staff after the election loss without council approval.
During the hearing, County Attorney Bill Fulbright asked that Dewey be excluded from Town Hall while the case is underway, a point argued by his temporary defense attorney.
"Your Honor, Stevensville Town Hall is a very small building. It is a public building, I recognize that. But the reality is, is anytime an individual would be in there they would be in close promixity to people who are witnesses, and potential witnesses in this case," Fulbright said.
"Excluding him, purely based on these charges, would be inappropriate," countered Public Defender Ryan Archibald. "I mean, I think it could be narrowed down to the point of saying not to discuss these cases, these charges, or the case with anybody. That would be appropriate. But pure exclusion from city hall would be an issue."
Judge Recht directed Dewey to have no contact with staff, witnesses, or town officials and no access to any records, except requested through the court, but said he could attend public meetings.
Dewey plans to hire his own attorney, so the entry of a plea was postponed for two weeks.