Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This time, Rev. Armstrong makes a court appearance

The Rev. Donald Armstrong today made his first appearance in 4th Judicial District Court, where he faces 20 counts of felony theft.

The brief hearing went without the hitch that occurred last month when a communications mix-up led to a bench warrant being issued briefly for Armstrong, who failed to appear at a hearing he thought had been rescheduled.

This time, Judge Greg Werner set a July 22 date for Armstrong's next court hearing.

Armstrong's lawyer Dennis Hartley said that will give the judge time to review the transcript of the grand jury proceedings that led to an indictment.

The indictment accuses Armstrong of committing theft while he was rector at Grace Church & St. Stephens in downtown Colorado Springs, a position he held from 1987 to 2007.

In March 2007, the Grace vestry voted to leave the Episcopal Church to join the Convocation of Anglicans in North America with Armstrong as rector. The CANA parish, now called St. George's Anglican Church, meets in the Mountain Shadows area.

Hartley said he hasn't seen the evidence against his client yet, but added he's not aware of anything Armstrong did that was wrong.

"I think the case is defensible," he said outside the courtroom.

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