The investigation started in July with employees inside Lewton’s office who raised concerns to local law enforcement about Lewton’s behavior. Sheriff’s deputies, in conjunction with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, conducted an investigation, said Tom Raynes, executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council.
Once evidence materialized, state officials consulted with Raynes about how to proceed since Lewton is in charge of the judicial district where the reported incidents took place. Raynes asked the district attorney in Routt County, who works on the opposite side of the state, is fairly new on the job and didn’t know Lewton, for that office to play an advisory role by reviewing the law enforcement investigation.
Routt deputy district attorney Matt Karzen confirmed his role but declined to talk about the nature of the potential allegations against Lewton.
Raynes said Karzen looked at the evidence and thought the case merited further investigation and so Karzen met with Polis’ office and representatives in Weiser’s office where the decision was reached to appoint a special prosecutor, Raynes said.
Brittny Lewton was first elected district attorney in 2012 and has worked in the office since she was an intern in 2005, according to her biography on the office’s website.
She wrote an email to employees earlier this week asking them to cooperate with the pending investigation. She also told them to seek outside counsel, like she did, if they felt it necessary.
“I am doing fine. Thank you to those of you who have reached out to me to check on my well-being,” the email said. “I have not been removed from office, unseated or replaced as DA, or had any other action taken against me. The only thing that has changed is that the order was issued. Thus, I intend to continue to show up to the office every day, carry out the obligations and duties that I swore to fulfill as a lawyer and as an elected district attorney.”
The bar is high to remove a district attorney from office. State law requires a recall by voters or impeachment by the state legislature.
Lewton is currently prosecuting convicted serial killer Scott Kimball, who is incarcerated in Sterling and is accused of plotting a prison escape and murder last year.
The Eastern Plains have been disproportionately affected by the state’s opioid crisis, according to the Colorado Health Institute. Sixteen rural counties recorded 93 deaths between 2014 and 2016 — up 158 percent from 36 in the three-year period between 2002 and 2004.
Weiser’s office had no timeline on how long an investigation by his office would take.