Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas and his wife, Geri, say their marriage is stronger than ever despite the flirtatious e-mails the prosecutor exchanged with employee Marina Kalani and rumors of an affair.
Bill and Geri Douglas have described the e-mails as jokes and laughed off talk that he was unfaithful to his wife of 34 years. Not only is her husband committed, he’s a “hard-working attorney who is very good” and who “cares about his office,” Geri Douglas said.
Bill Douglas said the professional image of the prosecutor’s office hasn’t been tarnished by the scandals of the past two years. The handful of his employees willing to talk on the record said they haven’t been distracted from getting their jobs done.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Marty Raap said the attorneys at the prosecutor’s office have a burgeoning caseload.
“There’s just other stuff you have to do that’s actually the stuff you’re getting paid to do,” Raap said. “You have to stick to business.”
Deputy prosecutors Ann Wick and Jim Reierson agreed.
“We’re just so busy,” Wick said. “I’m in court just about every day. I just haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to anything.”
Several lawyers in private practice were reluctant to comment.
“I have views on it. Most everybody does,” said Coeur d’Alene attorney Glen Walker, who served as county prosecutor prior to Douglas. “Obviously there are serious credibility issues. Beyond that, I don’t want to comment.”
Coeur d’Alene attorney Suzie Graham said she believes Douglas’ office has grown in its professionalism in recent months. “They’ve got some real confident, capable attorneys,” Graham said.
As for Douglas’ e-mails, Graham said the courthouse crowd is curious, but the messages aren’t the subject of much conversation.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue with the practicing bar because he never goes to court,” she said.
Douglas has apologized for using his e-mail “in such an informal way” and said other county departments likely have learned from his experience.
Graham agreed: “I think they all learned a valuable lesson in regard to the line drawn in the sand with what they can or cannot do.”
Geri Douglas said Thursday she read all her husband’s e-mails months ago and doesn’t have a problem with them. That includes one in which Kalani suggests to Bill Douglas that he leave his wife and run away with her.
“Everybody kids like that,” Geri Douglas said, adding that she laughed when she read the e-mail.
“She said that in my presence many times,” said Geri Douglas, who described Kalani as a friend. “I said something like, ‘If you guys are going anywhere, I’m going, too.’ “
She said accusations her husband was having an affair and The Spokesman-Review’s legal fight to obtain his e-mails under Idaho’s public records law have been extremely hard on her family.
“I wasn’t offended and I did not at any time suspect Bill was having an affair,” she said. “I didn’t have a problem. The only one that should be concerned about those e-mails is me.”
Bill Douglas said some of his wife’s relatives read the newspaper articles and had questions.
The couple said they are ready to move on.
“I live a good life,” Douglas said. “I have a good wife and kids I’ve raised in this community, and I think I’ve done a good job for the citizens for the past 18 years.”