After more than 11 hours of deliberation, the jury in John Bujaks misuse of public funds trial could not reach a verdict Wednesday and will resume wrestling with the case Thursday morning.
The former Canyon County prosecutor, who served as his own attorney, could face up to 14 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted of taking $236,000 from a contract to use Canyon County resources to prosecute city of Nampa misdemeanors.
In 40-plus years I have never seen a jury work this hard, Judge G.D. Carey told jurors before they adjourned for the night about 6:30 p.m. Throughout the day jurors submitted questions concerning various pieces of evidence and at one point alerted the court that a recording they received did not match the transcript theyd received earlier.
The jury of seven men and five women began deliberating late Monday afternoon but took Tuesday off for Election Day before spending a long deliberation day Wednesday. Jurors heard about five days of testimony from 18 prosecution witnesses including county and city officials, Bujaks top staff in the prosecutors office and the Idaho State Police investigator who spent about a year investigating the case.
Bujak called no defense witnesses except briefly recalling one prosecution witness -- and did not testify as a witness. But because he served as own attorney, he was able to argue his side of the case directly to the jury in opening and closing statements.
Bujak contends the money he is accused of misappropriating was his to use as he pleased, and that county commissioners agreed with that until, nearly a year into the contract, word that he planned to profit caused public uproar and political problems for commissioners.
Special Prosecutor Bill Thompson told jurors that Bujak presented no evidence to support his contention that county leaders were complicit in the prosecutors windfall profit. And, Thompson said, the evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecution established beyond a reasonable doubt that Bujak took large amounts of public money and hid that fact from county and Nampa officials and even his most trusted and loyal employees in the prosecutors office.
Jury deliberations resume at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Canyon County Courthouse.