Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lobbyist Told to Contact Schultz Re: Fundraising

During a meeting in then-Majority Leader Steve Foti's Capitol office in 1998, lobbyist Patrick Essie said he was told by the Majority Leader to contact Sherry Schultz, or that she would contact him, regarding a fundraising issue. Essie, who took the stand after Searl, said during 1998 he had "more than one" telephone conversation with Schultz regarding fundraising.

"She would call and she would say she was calling on behalf of Scott (Jensen)," he said.

He also said he attended a fundraising meeting with other lobbyists at the RPW office. He said Jensen, Ladwig and Schultz were there.

He also testified that he had a meeting in Jensen's office in 2000 where Essie talked about his clients, and Jensen talked about the vulnerable members and the help they needed. Blanchard asked Essie what he took help to mean, and he said "campaign donations."

He also said those meetings would be followed up by a call from Schultz. He said he couldn't recall Schultz ever picking up checks, but did ask when the checks would be ready.

On cross, defense attorney Stephen Meyer asked if Jensen ever mentioned aiding or hindering legislation in connection with campaign contributions. Ebert wouldn't allow him to answer, sustaining Blanchard's objection to the question's relevance.

In his cross-examination, Schultz attorney Stephen Morgan tried to poke holes in Essie's memory. He said Essie originally told investigators the meeting at RPW may have occurred in 1996. Essie said that was "possible."

Essie also admitted he "can't say for sure" Schultz was at the meeting, but "to the best of my recollection she was."

Essie's time on the stand has ended and Virginia Keleher is next on the stand.

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