Monday, June 12, 2006

Biskupic Expects 'Aggressive' Appeal from Defense

Defendant Georgia Thompson stared straight ahead as the guilty verdict was read and seemed distraught as she left the courtroom. Her attorney, Stephen Hurley, ushered her past reporters, and supporters surrounded her as she left the building. One of them chided a camera man, "Shame on you."

Hurley said he had no comment.

U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic said what made this case unique was that no personal gain was alleged for Thompson. Biskupic said that fact made the case "unique" and "difficult."

Biskupic said he would expect Hurley to "aggressively appeal" on that aspect of the case.

The jury deliberated for about four hours.

Thompson faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when sentenced Sept. 22, just more than six weeks out from the general election. But Biskupic predicted she will get far less than the maximum.

He also said he would meet with Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard and Wisconsin Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Dan Bach later this week to assess the investigation.

But he cautioned against reading anything into that meeting.

Investigators have also been looking at donations Doyle received from executives of companies involved in the sale of the Kewaunee nuclear power plant. The sale was initially rejected by state regulators but later approved after several modifications. Doyle received $41,500 from utility executives shortly after the deal was rejected.

Biskupic said he worked with Blanchard, Bach and former acting U.S. Attorney Steve Sinnott of the Western District, and their joint conclusion was that the charges were warranted.

Biskupic, a GOP appointee, also tried to dispel complaints that the investigation was a partisan attack on the Doyle administration. He said in cases like these "the public needs to be assured it wasn't conducted in a partisan manner."

"The group that investigated this case had no preset agenda," Biskupic said.

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