Judge Weber

Madison County Circuit Judge Don Weber forgot that a client of the Lakin Law Firm sued him 14 years ago, according to an affidavit Weber signed in defending himself against the firm's accusation of bias.

"Until the Lakin Law Firm brought up the lawsuit, I had forgotten completely about it," Weber wrote in a Feb. 7 affidavit.

"The lawsuit would have absolutely no impact on how I would rule in any particular case," he wrote.

Weber submitted the affidavit in opposition to a Lakin motion to remove him from a proposed class action suit, Henderson vs. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Lakin attorney Gary Peel filed the motion Jan. 5. Peel wrote that the firm sued Weber on behalf of Linda Condray.

Condray alleged that Weber, as a Madison County prosecutor, used evidence in the Paula Sims murder case for personal gain.

Weber and St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Charles Bosworth wrote a book, "Precious Victims," about the case. Penguin Books published the book.

The book included a photograph of Sims that Condray had taken. Condray sued Penguin Books, Weber and Bosworth.

Peel wrote in his motion that Weber offered Condray $25,000 and she accepted.

Weber stated in his affidavit that neither he nor Bosworth paid any money for attorney's fees or a settlement.

"Neither of us suffered any economic damage whatsoever from the lawsuit," he wrote.

He wrote that neither he nor Bosworth participated in negotiations between Condray and Penguin Books.

"Neither Charlie Bosworth nor I were even aware of the amount of money offered or paid to Linda Condray to settle the suit until January of 2006 when the lawsuit and settlement were brought to my attention by the fling of Plaintiff's Motion for Change of Judge," he wrote.

"I am not prejudiced against the Lakin Law Firm or any of their former or current employees," he wrote.

Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian signed Weber's affidavit as witness.

Since Weber took office last October, plaintiff attorneys have removed him from dozens of cases through motions for substitution.

In Illinois, any party to a case can substitute a judge once without cause if the judge has not made a substantial ruling. A second substitution requires proof of bias.

In the Henderson case, the Lakin firm had already exercised its free substitution.

Chief Judge Edward Ferguson assigned Peel's motion to Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron, but Byron refused to hear it because Wells Fargo had removed him from the case with a substitution motion.

As of Feb. 24, Ferguson had not reassigned the motion.

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