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Sanborn witness felt threatened, harassed by defense team before she recanted

Hope Cady in court in April (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- The I-Team discovers new details in the case of convicted murderer Anthony Sanborn, Jr.

Sanborn was released on bail in April after a key witness recanted her 1992 trial testimony. Documents reveal that witness went to police just days before she recanted saying she felt threatened and harassed by Sanborn's defense team.

Court records and police reports show Hope Cady claimed Sanborn's defense attorney and a private investigator were following her, texting, and going to her house repeatedly. Cady said she was scared and wanted to know how to get them to leave her alone.

Sanborn spent 25 years in prison after being convicted for killing Jessica Briggs.

During Sanborn's 1992 trial, Cady was said to be the only eyewitness to the murder and her testimony was key to the conviction that put Sanborn behind bars.

"She saw Mr. Sanborn take a knife out and slash her and stab her," former prosecutor Pam Ames said during the 1992 trial.

With that testimony now recanted, the case is getting a whole new look, but prosecutors don't think that should happen.

"There's a lot that happened involving efforts by defendant to get Hope Cady here to testify in the way she did," said prosecutor Meg Elam.

Just three days before cady recanted, Cady went to the Augusta Police Department with her caseworker from a mental health service organization.

According to a police report, Cady told officers defense attorney Amy Fairfield and a private investigator were threatening her and even following Cady's kids at school.

"Nobody threatened her; nobody harassed her; nobody did anything of the sort," Fairfield said.

In a transcript of lobby video at the Augusta Police Department, Cady said "I feel like I'm backed in a corner."

Police records show that a few days earlier, Cady also called Augusta police claiming the same people were harassing her.

In court documents, prosecutors claim Cady's "recent change in testimony ... is the product of pressure and harassment -- over the course of several years, and in multiple states and locations."

A month after Sanborn was released, Cady's case worker told officers that "she believed Cady was pressured by the defense and felt boxed in. Cady said she did not see the murder so it would all end and everyone would leave her alone," according to a police report.

Sanborn's lead defense attorney Amy Fairfield wouldn't answer questions from the I-Team about the police reports or her interactions with Hope Cady.

In court documents Fairfield said evidence that she "harassed, induced, or offered bribes to witnesses to procure their testimony is irrelevant and a waste of time."

"Nobody has threatened or coerced any witnesses in this case on this side of the fence. All we are looking for are the facts to be presented and for the truth to prevail," Fairfield told CBS 13.

The state says a 2015 report from the Innocence Project is more proof Cady was telling the truth during the original trial.

The group works to exonerate those who were wrongly convicted.

Less than two years ago Cady stuck to her story telling the investigator she was on the pier the night of the murder.

"Hope Cady says I know what I saw, and I know he's not innocent," Elam said.

A hearing on the evidence as part of this post conviction review is set to start next Tuesday.

Sanborn says he's innocent and denies he had anything to do with the murder of Jessica Briggs.

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