Federal judge orders Bujak to help pay for his public defender

krodine@idahostatesman.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak must contribute $150 per month toward the cost of his court-appointed public defender as Bujak fights a new slate of charges.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Bush, who on Thursday ruled that Bujak was entitled to a court-appointed public defender, issued an order Friday elaborating that Bujak “is financially able to contribute to the cost of court-appointed counsel.” Bujak must pay $150 per month starting Feb. 1 and continuing until the federal case against him is concluded.

Bujak, 45, faces six charges in connection with his Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings in 2010 and 2011: bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, money laundering and making a false statement under oath, plus two counts of obstruction of justice. Federal prosecutors say Bujak concealed a $25,000 Rolex watch among the possessions that should have been listed in his bankruptcy paperwork, sold the watch and a ring to a Florida jewelry store, concealed and lied about the $26,000 proceeds, and encouraged his then-wife to conceal the truth.

Bujak, who was indicted by a federal grand jury Jan. 14, entered not-guilty pleas to all charges on Thursday.

If he stands trial as scheduled March 25, it would be his fifth jury trial - and the first in federal court - since November 2012. No jury has found him guilty.

Of his four trials in state court, two ended in mistrials and two in acquittals. Three of those trials concerned allegations that Bujak took $236,000 in public funds from a contract he entered as Canyon County prosecutor. The other trial stemmed from allegations that he stole money from an estate he handled before he became prosecutor.

Bujak took office as prosecutor in January 2009 and resigned in September 2010, indicating he was unable to pay the approximately $300,000 commissioners said he still owed the county.

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