Nightly News   |  November 08, 2013

Ex-DA who prosecuted innocent man sentenced to 10 days in jail

Michael Morton, accused of murdering his wife, was released from prison after being locked up for nearly 25 years because DNA evidence proved him innocent. The prosecutor in the case was charged with failing to disclose evidence that undercut the cast against Morton – but he wasn’t given a harsh penalty because of the statute of limitations.  NBC’s Pete Williams reports.

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>>> an unusual story out of texas tonight. this one began decades ago, came full circle after an innocent man spent 25 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit. now the prosecutor who sent him there is paying the price. apparently the first time a prosecutor is going to jail for doing what this one did. our story tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams .

>> reporter: inside this texas courtroom a dramatic end to an outrageous case of justice denied . ken anderson pleaded no contest to charges that when he was a prosecutor in 1987 he failed to disclose evidence that seriously undercut the case against michael morton , accused of murdering his wife christine who was beaten to death in bed. morton was released from prison two years ago when recently obtained dna evidence proved he was innocent.

>> i prayed for it. i had faith that it would arrive.

>> reporter: prosecutors are required by law to share any evidence they collect that would be helpful to the defense. but in the case, two critical things were withheld. witnesses reported seeing a man park a green van nearby and walk into the woods near the mortons' house. michael morton 's mother-in-law said his 3-year-old son eric told her that he saw "a monster with a mustache" hurting his mother. was daddy there, he was asked? no, mommy and eric was there. morton served nearly 25 years in prison. 8,995 days. now the sentence for the prosecutor, just ten days in jail for contempt of court. a harsher penalty unavailable because of the statute of limitations. michael morton was many in court today to watch the prosecutor who put him in prison for a murder he didn't commit.

>> my number one motivating factor here is that what happened to me will not happen to the you. by what happened today, we have succeeded.

>> reporter: anderson also loses his law license and two months ago as the misconduct case against him built, he stepped down from his most recent job -- state court judge. pete williams , nbc news, washington.