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Indiana wants Hardy misconduct charges reinstated

September 9, 2013

The state will appeal a ruling that threw out four felony counts of official misconduct against Indiana's former top utility regulator, the attorney general's office said Monday.

The office said it filed notice with the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday that it will appeal the dismissal of charges against former Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman David Lott Hardy of Fort Wayne.

A Marion County judge ruled last month that a 2012 change to the official misconduct law invalidated the charges against Hardy in connection with an ethics scandal involving officials from the IURC and from Duke Energy.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office asked the Court of Appeals to reverse the dismissal and reinstate them so that Hardy will again face trial.

"If the Legislature intended to make a 2012 change in the law retroactive as the trial court ruled, it would have written that into the statute, and it did not," Zoeller said.

Hardy was indicted by a Marion County grand jury in 2011.

He was charged with not disclosing several meetings with Duke executives about cost overruns at a $3.3 billion coal-gasification power plant in Edwardsport, about 60 miles north of Evansville. Hardy also was accused of helping the IURC's top attorney, Scott Storms, break ethics rules in seeking a job with Duke while helping to oversee the Edwardsport case.

Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels fired Hardy in 2010.

The Indiana Court of Appeals had denied Hardy's request to throw out the charges against him in December, but Hardy renewed his request at the trial court level.

Hardy said he has no comment on the state's decision to appeal.

The Legislature changed the official misconduct law in 2012 to specify that it applied to specific criminal offenses by public officials and not merely to violations of ethical or administrative rules.

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