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A jury on Friday cleared a woman accused of making false accusations against a former deputy with the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department.

Natasha Reiger, of Lincoln, was found not guilty of one felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as not guilty of a misdemeanor count of false reports to law enforcement.

During the two-day trial, jurors heard from law enforcement officers, including officers with the Lincoln Police Department and the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department.

On Aug. 27, officers responded to Kerry Komrosky's house in Lincoln for a report of a barricaded suspect. Komrosky is a former Burleigh County deputy, who pleaded guilty last year to stealing drugs from evidence.

Reiger, who had been living with Komrosky, told officers Komrosky held a gun to her head and physically assaulted her.

It took several hours for Komrosky to retreat from his house, and he told officers he had been sleeping.

A video recording taken on Aug. 27 was used to charge Reiger with lying to law enforcement. The video was presented to jurors, during which Reiger and Komrosky can be heard arguing.

Bureau of Criminial Investigation agent Robert Cummings told jurors he received the video recording from an acquaintance of Reiger, and he stated Reiger was "the agitator" in the video.

But Reiger told jurors the video recording showed only part of their argument. She gave emotional testimony on Friday, telling jurors Komrosky caused her to fear for her life, as well as the safety of her 1-year-old son, who was also in the house.

Reiger also recorded a phone call conversation between her and Komrosky after the incident. Her attorney, Scott Rose, presented the audio recording to jurors, during which Komrosky did not dispute holding a gun to Reiger's head.

"I feel like the government let me down, basically. The police — the people who are supposed to serve and protect — are trying to arrest the victim," Reiger told the jury.

Reiger admitted to previously using methamphetamine, but said she had not used the night Komrosky was arrested.

"I have a history. I have used meth ... I'm human, but I still plead my innocence. I'm a good mom, I go to school, I'm in treatment," she said.

Komrosky was called to the stand by Rose, but, because his drug case is currently on appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court, he asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege and declined to answer any questions.

In his closing argument, the prosecutor in the case, McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson, argued that Reiger misstated what happened that night to law enforcement.

The video recording of the argument "shows her as the aggressor," he said, adding that she was motivated to make false statements because Komrosky gave her $5,000 to post his bail in his drug case, which she would have gotten back if he was arrested.

Rose said in his closing argument that officers who testified during the trial made contradicting statements about what happened at Komrosky's residence. He also called the investigation "sloppy."

"I understand you may not completely agree with the life choices that my client may have made," Rose said. "She's human. We all make mistakes ... but is that a reason to find someone guilty of a crime?"

The jury returned not guilty verdicts on both counts after deliberating for about an hour and a half.

After the trial on Friday, Rose said he believed Reiger, and not Komrosky, was the one who was charged in the case because of her prior history of using drugs.

"There was something wrong here, and that's what we proved today," he said.

Reiger said she believes the jury made the right decision.

"Now I can move on with my life. We had good closure today," she said.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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Education and Health Reporter