Mandy Bartelt, the court clerk who accused of Making a Murderer attorney Len Kachinsky of stalking her, teared up on the stand Thursday. She claimed that as a Fox Crossing municipal judge, he badgered her with numerous inappropriate emails and comments about her personal life, and refused to stop even after she brought in village administrators to establish proper boundaries at work.
In one instance, she said, they were alone in the office and he physically went over her desk. The action knocked over some of her things, including pictures of her children, she said.
“Are you afraid of me now?” he whispered, according to her testimony. Bartelt visibly choked up when recounting the story. She claimed he was in her face.
As she described in her testimony, this wasn’t the first or last inappropriate encounter she had with Kachinsky. On Thursday, she told the court that he spent months badgering her with inappropriate statements about their personal lives. She told him this was inappropriate, but he allegedly kept stepping over the line after initially promising to respect Bartelt’s requests.
“Len Kachinsky was facing a trip to the hospital for cancer treatment. He had already decided to end his private practice because of this diagnosis, but the release of #MakingAMurderer ensured that portion of his career was likely over.” The first words in Kachinsky’s defense. pic.twitter.com/ViGSV6Bznv
— Aaron Keller (@AKellerLawCrime) December 6, 2018
In opening statements on Thursday, defense lawyer Brandt Swardenski told jurors that Kachinsky became a judge after the docuseries Making a Murderer “ensured that portion of his career was likely over.” Kachinsky hired Bartelt as court manager to replace an outgoing clerk, and they became friends, the attorney said. He said that jurors will hear evidence that his client tried to resolve the situation, and even sought a way to leave the municipal court “with dignity.”
Bartelt said their work relationship started out positively when he hired her May 16, 2016. She said she was glad to see him when he returned from getting medical treatment in February 2017. The alleged victim described this a a “casual friendship.”
Then he allegedly started acting creepy. For example, she said he made an inappropriate comment on her Facebook account about her and her husband going on a “second honeymoon” (it was just a vacation); Kachinsky allegedly told Bartelt that he used Facebook to figure out her mother, with whom he was Facebook friends, was near her home; and he asked Barelt to participate in several photo shoots at the office (she declined).
She got administrators involved into order to stop him from acting this way, she testified. Nonetheless, Kachinsky kept reaching out to her in an apparently bid to discuss their personal issues, she said. In one strange email, he allegedly invited her to go out drinking as insisting that he was no longer affected by steroids.
#LenKachinskyTrial – Another email, “I’m in a good mood and not influenced by steroids.” Watch #MakingAMurderer attorney Len Kachinsky charged with felony stalking of his law clerk. pic.twitter.com/54CEaM8rlL
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) December 6, 2018
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]