Monday, October 17, 2005

State v. Chvala: Pre-trial Hearing Sets Framework for Case

A pretrial hearing in front of Dane Co. Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan today put some finishing touches on the framework in the state's long awaited caucus scandal case against former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala.

A blow was dealt to the defense today as Flanagan denied a motion from Chvala's team that would have allowed lobbyists called by the defense to testify that they consistently met with Chvala to discuss policy matters, and to say that he did not link legislative action to campaign contributions. Flanagan indicated that he may review the motion one more time.

The prosecution, who will call on two lobbyists to testify against Chvala, were opposed to the motion, saying the lobbyists' testimony would be hearsay.

Another hotly contested motion was one by the defense to prohibit the presentation of proof suggesting that Chvala engaged in money laundering. The motion also would bar witnesses from opining that using corporate money in elections is illegal. Chvala attorney James Olson said "If you want to charge him with money laundering, charge him with money laundering and we will defend against it ... don't create innuendos." According to the motions document, Madison lobbyist William Broydrick has delivered testimony regarding allegations of money laundering against Chvala. Flanagan withheld a ruling on this motion until getting more information from each side.

Chvala's team scored a success when the judge granted a request to prohibit any witness from saying that Chvala questioned Sen. Jon Erpenbach's allegiance and did not want him to run for Senate because he was Sen. Russ Feingold's brother-in-law. Chvala's team said using such testimony would be an attempt by the state to prejudice the jury by pitting the defendant against Feingold, a popular U.S. senator.

See recent motions and the resulting rulings from today:

Recent defense motions: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/051003chvala.pdf
Results: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=46622

Prosecution motions: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/051004state1.pdf
Results: http://www.wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=46624

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