Trial begins for GOP official

ESCANABA – Jurors returned to the courtroom Wednesday morning for day two of the trial of an Escanaba man charged with extortion, computer crime, stalking, and possession of drugs relating to alleged threats against his ex-wife.

Douglas Vero Sedenquist, 52, was arrested last December on the four felonies. He is accused of threatening his estranged ex-wife, Carmen Labute, Nov. 20-26, 2013. His three-day trial began Tuesday in Delta County Circuit Court.

Following jury selection on Tuesday, opening statements were presented by the prosecution and defense. The victim’s attorney, Russell Hall, was the first witness to take the stand.

Other witnesses expected to testify include Labute, a co-worker, family members, Escanaba Public Safety detectives, and an officer from the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Police Department.

According to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Philip Strom, Sedenquist and Labute were divorced in March 2013.

Strom cited several incidents during the past two years when Sedenquist allegedly repeatedly threatened, intimidated and stalked Labute in Escanaba and also Green Bay where she works as a nurse. Strom told jurors that Sedenquist’s behavior led to threats of extortion in November 2013.

Hall testified Sedenquist stated he was going to tell Labute’s employer that she had violated patient confidentiality rights unless she gave in to his demands for retirement funds, spousal support, and joint custody rights. Sedenquist also wanted first rights to buy their camp property.

Hall said he contacted Escanaba Public Safety, which investigated the threats and arrested Sedenquist. Emails supporting many of the allegations were entered as evidence Tuesday.

Following execution of a search warrant on Sedenquist’s residence in Escanaba on Dec. 2, 2013, Escanaba Public Safety arrested him on four felonies. He was lodged in the county jail and was later released after posting $5,000, or 10 percent of a $50,000 bond.

Sedenquist is charged with extortion. He is accused of maliciously threatening to accuse his ex-wife of a crime; using a computer to commit a 20-year-or more felony; aggravated stalking; and controlled substance – possession of the analogue Hydrocodone.