Courthouse Drama Between DA & Law Enforcement
She's normally the person who puts people on trial, but over the past few months District Attorney Janice Steidley has herself been on the hot seat.
"It was a smear campaign," she said.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, she addressed being cleared by a grand jury of over 20 allegations of wrongdoing.
"We did our job, we did it right. I've said it from the beginning and I'm saying it now," she said.
But there was also something to be said of the grand jury's intense criticism of a dysfunctional relationship between her office and law enforcement.
"I want the public to know the perception is not the reality," she said.
"I've done this job for 33 years and I've never experienced a more strained relationship," said Sheriff Scott Walton. Was he surprised Ms. Steidley wasn't indicted?
"Yeah," he said.
"You know, when I have to tell an officer this is what you need to do to have a successful case, they don't like to hear that," she said.
"Never has the Rogers county sheriff's department done something that would jeopardize a victim's case," he said.
Does the DA think there's a good ole boy network?
"I definitely think there is a cell group of law enforcement, you know I don't know if some of it has to do with me being a woman," she said.
"Gender's got nothing to do with this," he said.
Walton describes their relationship as adversarial. And whatever feelings might have once been contained to the courthouse have spread throughout the community.
"My son was confronted at school and told that his mother was a liar and a fraud and that I was going to jail. You tell me as a mother or father how you're going to handle that?" said Steidley.
To add to the emotional toll, yesterday someone blew up her mailbox.
"We had an explosive put into my mailbox yesterday," she said.
"I have no knowledge of that other than the rumor mill. I was told that her mailbox was set on fire," said Walton.
And finally, just over a month from today, voters will cast ballots for Steidley's office. Does Sheriff Walton think she'll win?
"I don't think she'll win her own election, no," he said.
A riveting drama rarely seen played out so publicly, with a new fig leaf blowing in the wind.
"Come talk to me. What is the issue? Let's try to resolve it," said Steidley.