John Bujak had said that he hoped last weeks deadlock would lead to an out-of-court resolution to allegations that he illegally took $236,000 in public funds for his own use.
No such luck.
With the political nature of this case, I cant say Im surprised, Bujak said after a hearing Tuesday at which the special prosecutor said he plans a second trial on the felony charge. But Im disappointed.
People are tired of seeing the Bujak case in the paper. ... I want this to be over.
Bujak, who was arrested in December 2010 and has been embroiled in various legal charges since then, said the case has already taken up enough time and money. As of last week, Canyon County had spent nearly $182,000 for Bujaks public defenders and a data recovery expert hired by the defense.
I think the prosecutor missed the meaning of the jury verdict, Bujak said, predicting that a new panel likely would arrive at the same place: intractable division.
This case is very polarizing. If you talk to people, theyre very strongly for me or very strongly for the commissioners.
Theres plenty of blame to go around.
Special Prosecutor Bill Thompson, who said last week that he needed to reassess the case before deciding how to go forward, told Judge G.D. Carey that he and co-counsel Stephen Bywater believe the case needs to be retried.
We need a little time to give things a chance to cool off and bring a new jury pool in, Thompson said, and Carey agreed.
The new trial is set to begin March 11 and expected to last up to two weeks, including jury deliberation. The first trial lasted about six days, and the jury deliberated for 19 hours over three days. Carey said the jury was deeply divided, with more than one or two dissenting.
Bywater met with Canyon County commissioners this morning to apprise them of the prosecutors decision.
Commissioners contend that Bujak deceived them, telling them that proceeds from a nearly $600,000 Nampa prosecution contract were being held in trust for the county when all along he was siphoning funds to cover his own debts and expenses.
Bujak says the money he took was his to use as he pleased, as long as he covered all costs of the Nampa prosecutions and salary bumps for his staff. He argued that the countys effort to get money from him should be a civil suit, not a criminal charge.
Bujak served 19 months as county prosecutor before resigning Sept. 30, 2009.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447