TODAY   |  November 09, 2013

Ex-prosecutor jailed for concealing evidence

A former Texas state prosecutor will go to jail for intentionally withholding evidence in the trial of a man who spent 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a legal first. a former state prosecutor in texas ordered to serve time in jail for intentionally withholding critical evidence in a murder trial of a man who turned out to be innocent. more on that story from our justice correspondent pete williams .

>> reporter: mike morton sat in the front row of a texas courthouse to see punishment imposed on ken anderson the man who got him convicted of a crime he did not commit. anderson led the prosecution in 1987 that accused morton of murdering his wife christine who was beaten to death in bed. morton was relieved from pretty much two years ago freed by dna evidence that proved he was innocent.

>> thank god this wasn't a capital case . it only had life.

>> reporter: his lawyers then discovered that anderson , the prosecutor, never told the defense about two critical pieces of evidence. witnesses had reported seeing a man park a green van and walk into the wooded area near the morton 's house. and michael morton 's mother-in-law said his 3-year-old son eric told her he saw a big monster with a big mustache hurting his mother. was daddy there, he was asked? no, he said. mommy and eric was there. that same dna evidence led to the real killer a drifter named mark allen norwood convicted in march. morton served nearly 25 years in prison and 8,995 days. and the sentence for the prosecutor? just ten days for contempt of court. a harsher penalty unavailable because of the statute of limitations.

>> there is no way anything we could do today would resolve the hurt.

>> reporter: he now loses his law license and he judge steps down.

>> the only thing i want as a baseline is for ken anderson to be off the bench and for him to no longer practice law .

>> reporter: anderson 's successors in the prosecutor's office have also agreed to look back at all of his prior convictions to see if there were other cases of misconduct. for "today," pete williams , nbc news, washington.