A special prosecutor was appointed Monday morning to investigate Saline County Sheriff Phil Mask after the sheriff testified for the defense in a sex-assault case. Saline County prosecutor Robert Herzfeld asked to be relieved after conducting a preliminary investigation and finding reasonable cause to believe that Mask had committed a crime. Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips agreed to appoint Bob Balfe (BALF), the prosecutor for Benton County, to take over from Herzfeld. Herzfeld started the investigation when Mask testified on behalf of Shannon Hills Police Chief John Brown, who was later convicted of sexual assault. Mask testified that he didn`t believe the victim`s story, even though Mask`s office was in charge of the criminal investigation. Herzfeld called Mask`s testimony "bizzare" and "goofy," and Mask alleged Herzfeld`s investigation was political. Herzfeld is a Democrat who has said he wants to run for attorney general. He requested that Balfe take over, partly because Balfe is a Republican recently nominated by President Bush for the U.S. attorney`s post.