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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Rape trial of ex-judge to move ahead; Spokane County judge to take case

Associated Press

Associated Press

ASOTIN, Wash. – The delayed trial of a former judge in southeastern Washington charged with rape and other crimes will now move forward with the initial judge assigned to the case.

According to an order signed last week and filed in Asotin County Superior Court, Spokane County Judge Michael Price has been reassigned to the Scott D. Gallina case, the Lewiston Tribune reported.

Price presided over Gallina’s initial bond hearing, arraignment and status hearings in 2019, following the former judge’s arrest at the courthouse that April.

Gallina, 57, is charged with second-degree rape, fourth-degree sexual assault and indecent liberties for his alleged misconduct involving employees in the Asotin County Courthouse while he was the Superior Court judge in Asotin, Garfield and Columbia counties.

He has pleaded innocent to all charges and remains free on bond.

The trial has been delayed multiple times because of the pandemic and efforts to find a judge for the case.

Price originally recused himself when newly-elected Superior Court Judge Brooke Burns took office. She cited a conflict of interest and recused herself.

Walla Walla County Judge Scott Wolfram was appointed and removed at the defense’s request. Walla Walla County Judge Brandon Johnson took over but recused himself after handling a case in the Asotin County Courthouse and meeting some of the alleged victims. Earlier this month, Yakima County Judge Jeffery Swan was removed at the request of prosecutors, and Olympia court officials went back to Price.

The trial is expected to begin sometime in 2022 in Asotin County.