Trailhead Director May Face Criminal Charges

For months Colorado Confidential has been reporting on the various misdeeds and assorted escapades of the Trailhead Group, a Republican political committee that has raised millions of dollars in efforts to boost the candidacies of Republican candidates around the state.

Trailhead has engaged in some questionable accounting of its funds and has been accused of running misleading advertisements, and one of those charges has finally caught up with Trailhead director Alan Philp. Colorado Confidential’s Cara DeGette reported on the possibility of criminal charges against Trailhead several weeks ago, and it looks like those charges have come to fruition.

As The Denver Post reported today:

Alan Philp, executive director of the Trailhead Group, is expected to be charged criminally this morning in El Paso County for airing a political ad that was “recklessly and willfully false,” according to a Trailhead attorney.
Attorney John Zakhem, who represents Trailhead, a conservative campaign group organized by Gov. Bill Owens and wealthy Republicans, confirmed that Philp will be charged this morning.

Attorney Scott Gessler, who is a friend of Philp’s, said in an e-mail, said he will be charged with a misdemeanor for recklessly or willfully making a false statement intended to influence an election.

“This is the first time to my knowledge that this charge has been (filed) by a district attorney,” Zakhem said…

…Gessler said the flap started with John P. Morse, former chief of police in Fountain and now a Democratic candidate for the state senate from El Paso County, who recently filed a complaint against Trailhead because of an ad the group ran against Morse.

The ad incorrectly stated that Morse was responsible for reducing 14 felony charges down to a misdemeanor charge of menacing, Gessler said. In fact, the 14 felonies had been reduced down to a felony charge of menacing.

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Jason Bane

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