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Claim seeks $1 million from county

Plaintiff alleges damage due to news article

A suspect charged in an Idaho County fraud case has filed a tort claim against Idaho County seeking $1 million for damages alleged to have resulted from information provided by investigators concerning the incident that was published in a 2013 news article.

In the claim filed last Thursday, Jan. 30, Jacob D. Smart, 28, alleges Idaho County Sheriff’s Office Detective Brian Hewson caused an article to be written and published Oct. 9, 2013, in the Idaho County Free Press in which he made “false statements and unsubstantiated allegations regarding Jacob Smart in relation to acts of burglary and grand theft.”

Smart is currently held in the Idaho County Jail on $50,000 bond, awaiting a Feb. 24 preliminary hearing on felony charges of possession of a fraudulently obtained financial transaction card (FTC), and unlawful use of a fraudulently obtained FTC. Charges resulted from a July 15, 2013, incident in which he is alleged to have used a fraudulently obtained FTC to purchase more than $5,000 in power tools.

According to the tort claim, the article quoted Hewson on investigation specifics concerning the alleged fraud incident, along with allegations of possible further criminal activity – including three burglaries in Idaho County — both Smart and his wife, Janet, may have been involved in that year.

“By committing these acts Idaho County tortuously inflicted great emotional distress upon Jacob Smart,” states the claim.

Smart’s claim seeks economic damages for injuries alleged from these acts that include mental anguish, emotional distress, general pain and suffering, damage to his personal and professional reputation and future employability, and loss of work.

The tort claim has been referred to the county’s insurance provider, ICRMP, which has up to 90 days to recommend the claim be admitted or denied. If the claim is denied or no action is taken by ICRMP within the 90-day period, Smart has up to two years from the date of the alleged wrongful conduct to file a lawsuit against the county.

Smart is being represented by Nampa attorney Bryan W. Knox of Tucker and Knox LLP.

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