RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Wake County attorney, whose father was kidnapped in 2014, has been placed on paid leave after she sent emails form a personal account that pertained to drug-related cases.
Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen was placed on paid leave after Janssen asked an investigator to delay bringing charges against a witness involved in another case.
The case involved two men who were charged with robbing Marcus Smith at gunpoint in his garage.
The two men’s entire defense was based on their claim that they were settling a drug deal and not robbing Smith.
During the trial, Janssen argued repeatedly there was no evidence to support Smith was involved with drugs at all.
But during a federal investigation involving the same defendant, attorneys discovered emails that Janssen sent to a Raleigh police investigator.
In those emails, she asks about raiding a drug “stash house” linked to Smith.
The federal attorneys then contacted Smith’s defense attorney for the robbery case and asked if they knew about the emails.
Janssen was asked about the emails who then wrote that she forgot to check her personal Yahoo! Account and then sent the email over.
The defense attorney appealed the case and the judge agreed the two men did not get a fair trial saying the emails speak for themselves.
Janssen has been placed on paid leave pending a review by District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.
Janssen’s father, Frank, was kidnapped and taken to Atlanta in April 2014. Kelvin Melton was convicted of masterminding the plot to kidnap Frank Janssen. Colleen has previously helped convict Melton of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill.