Wednesday, October 8, 1997

Prosecutors ask to keep Harmon imprisoned

A drug arrest, improper travel and substance abuse test problems led federal prosecutors Tuesday to ask a federal judge to keep Dan Harmon behind bars.

Saturday morning, Harmon was arrested in Conway when he allegedly tried to bring methamphetamine to a girlfriendís house for them to share, and he has been in Pulaski County jail since then.

A motion filed in federal court in Little Rock Tuesday alleged that Harmon, a former prosecuting attorney, violated the conditions of his supervised release pending his sentencing in four ways:
= Traveling without permission to Conway while on home detention with electronic monitoring.
= Being arrested by the FBI for attempting to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it.
= Possessing a bottle of urine that Harmon admitted he was going to use as a substitute for his next drug test.
= Providing a urine specimen which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Harmon had been free under the supervision of the U.S. Pretrial Services and Probation Department since his June conviction on five felony charges.

At a hearing Monday, Harmon attempted to enter an innocent plea to the new charge but was told it was the wrong time. He is scheduled to be back in court Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Jones on that charge for a probable cause and detention hearing. Information on the new charge will be presented to a federal grand jury next week.

Meanwhile, Chief U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner will hear the motion to revoke his bond in the older case, in which Harman was convicted of one count each of racketeering and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion. Neither a hearing on the revocation nor a sentencing hearing have been set.

Lea Ellen Fowler, Harmonís attorney, did not return phone calls Tuesday.

On Saturday, Harmon allegedly tried to bring methamphetamine to Patricia Vaughn, a girlfriend who testified against him during the racketeering trial. When confronted by an FBI agent, Harmon ran and jumped into a pond on the apartment complex, court papers said. After moving about in the water, he returned to dry land and was arrested.

The court papers also indicated the existence of six tape recordings of conversations between Harmon and Vaughn discussing his alleged plan to bring her drugs for them to share.

After Harmonís conviction in June, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Stripling asked Reasoner to detain Harmon, claiming Harman was a threat to witnesses in the case. Reasoner instead placed Harmon on home detention with electronic monitoring, which allowed him to leave his Benton home only to work.

Harmon, 52, was prosecuting attorney for the 7th Judicial District of Hot Spring, Saline and Grant counties from 1990 through 1996 when he resigned as part of a state plea bargain in which Harmon pleaded guilty and no contest respectively to two misdemeanors.

He held the same office for two years a decade earlier.

Copyright 1997, Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.