CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An assistant Kanawha County prosecutor was appointed Tuesday to assist in the prosecution of a Logan County man accused of assaulting then-state Senate candidate Richard Ojeda last year.
Kanawha County assistant Fred Giggenbach offered to assist Logan Prosecuting Attorney John Bennett in the case against 42-year-old Jonathan S. Porter of Holden. Porter is set to stand trial on a malicious assault charge in Kanawha Circuit Court on May 1.
Kanawha County Judge Duke Bloom was appointed to the case after both Judge Eric O’Briant and Judge Joshua Butcher recused themselves from the case.
Bloom signed an order Tuesday appointing Giggenbach to assist Bennett with Porter’s case.
Ojeda previously said he was worried he couldn’t get a fair trial in Logan County.
Bloom agreed to move the trial to Charleston and out of Logan last month. The judge granted a change of venue request filed by lawyers for Porter. Jury selection was held in Logan for two days last month but, before a jury was seated, the judge granted the change of venue request.
Bloom granted a request during a hearing April 4 for Porter to change lawyers. Porter is now represented by Charleston lawyer John Mitchell Jr.
Sen. Ojeda has said Porter attacked him at a barbecue at Whitman a short time before the election. Ojeda says Porter hit him from behind with a pipe and brass knuckles and then tried to run him over with a pickup.
Porter is charged with malicious assault.
It’s reported Porter plans to argue self-defense during the trial.