Special Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu summed up her case against former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak in simple terms: This defendant made up fake evidence to get himself out of trouble.
Instead, the document Bujak is accused of creating led to new felony charges against him.
Akamatsu spoke to jurors Wednesday as Bujaks trial began on felony charges of preparing false evidence and computer crime charges that sprang from an anonymous fax that, if legitimate, could have derailed the prosecution of Bujak on charges of misusing $236,000 in public funds.
Akamatsu told the nine women and four men on the jury that evidence will show that Bujak ginned up the fake email exchange and inserted it in a stack of documents sent to the special prosecutor in the public funds case.
Bujak, who is serving as his own attorney, opted to delay his opening arguments until after the prosecution is done calling witnesses.
The primary witness Wednesday was Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, whos handling the public funds case as special prosecutor. A trial on that case ended with a deadlocked jury and is scheduled for a new trial next month.
Tucked into a stack of documents Thompson deemed of little significance, the page appeared to be a 2009 email exchange between local government watchdog Deloris Cram and Canyon County Commission Chairman David Ferdinand in which both endorsed the idea that Bujak would personally profit from a contract to use county resources to prosecute Nampa misdemeanors.
If the document was legitimate, Thompson said, it would be roughly equivalent to finding out the suspect in a stolen-car case actually held title to the vehicle.
The case against Bujak alleges he took $236,000 from the Nampa contract without the approval or knowledge of county commissioners. All three commissioners have testified they didnt know Bujak intended to take any profit until summer 2010; and Bujak is not charged in connection with money he took after that point. Bujak resigned in September 2010 after he could not pay the money officials said he owed the county.
If this (faxed document) was real, the information we were basing the case on was not accurate, Thompson said. But investigators concluded the document was fabricated in an effort to foil the prosecution, he said.
Idaho State Police searched Bujaks home and seized his laptop computer. They found the original faxed documents, with receipt, plus the purported email as a deleted Word document on Bujaks laptop, Akamatsu said.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447