Former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak got two pieces of hoped-for news at Friday afternoons motion hearing on charges that he misused $236,000 in public funds.
Senior District Judge G.D. Carey rejected a prosecution attempt to revoke or stiffen Bujak's bond because he allegedly falsified evidence while out on bond. And Carey "very reluctantly" rescinded his order that Bujak contribute $1,000 a month toward the cost of his defense.
The felony case, launched in December, has evolved into a legal thicket of motions and new charges and allegations by the county and its former prosecutor that each is out to ruin the other.
I was hoping that this would be a clean trial, but I guess that was a silly hope on my part, Carey said Friday.
Bujak and his legal team said they couldnt comment Friday because of a gag order theyd requested in the case. But both of the major decisions the judge made at the hearing satisfied Bujak requests.
Special Prosecutor Bill Thompsons motion asked Carey to either return Bujak to jail or increase his bond, now $5,000 on this charge, to $500,000 with requirements that he wear an electronic monitor and commit no crimes while on bond. Carey denied the motion.
I see it as an attempt to torture him, as were the timing of the second and third cases filed against him, defense attorney Rolf Kehne told Carey, contending prosecutors are trying to coerce Bujak into a guilty plea.
Thats not true, said Deputy Attorney General Stephen Bywater, co-counsel for the prosecution.
Its been his conduct and his egocentric view of the world, that everybodys picking on him, that has led to the additional charges, Bywater said.
In particular, he said, the motion was spurred by actions that led to two more felony charges preparing false evidence and computer crimes. Those charges were filed last month in connection with a document faxed anonymously to special prosecutor Thompson in April.
The email exchange, purportedly between Canyon County Commission Chairman David Ferdinand and watchdog blogger Deloris Cram, was dated Sept. 3, 2009.
If it had been legit, (it) would have been directly contradictory to county leaders allegations that in 2009 they had no idea Bujak intended to personally profit from a contract he crafted to use county resources to prosecute Nampa misdemeanors, Bywater said.
Investigators found no evidence of those emails on computers controlled by Cram who had since died or the commissioners, Bywater said, but they found the document on a laptop seized from Bujaks Eagle home.
Whats more, he said, they found the stack of documents faxed to Thompson still in a packet with a fax receipt in Mr. Bujaks name.
He called the alleged fabrication of evidence an intentional act to subvert the integrity of the judicial system.
Bujak tried to respond to the prosecutions statements, noting that he had made a motion to serve as his own attorney. But Carey cut him off, noting that he had not ruled on that motion. A short time later, he denied the motion.
Bujak filed the motion after Carey ruled the former prosecutor must contribute $1,000 a month to the cost of his two county-paid defense lawyers. Idaho law requires that a decision to waive legal representation be voluntary, and Bujak's motion and statements in court made it clear he wants and feels he needs to keep his lawyers. He said he only sought to represent himself because he can't afford the ordered payments and didn't want to be held in contempt of court.
Carey dropped the co-pay requirement, but stressed that he will revisit that requirement at the end of this case. The county also could file a civil suit against Bujak after the case is resolved, he said.
It sounds to me like this is an unnecessary complication in the case and making for potential appellate issues later on, the judge said. Im going to rescind, very reluctantly, my order.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447