Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Defense Pushes for Acquittal, New Trial in Thompson Case

Defense counsel for Georgia Thompson, the former Department of Administration employee convicted on two federal fraud charges in connection with a state travel contract, cited a lack of evidence and took aim at some of Judge Rudolph Randa's rulings in a motion filed Monday seeking Thompson's acquittal or a new trial.

Thompson's lawyer, Stephen Hurley, argues in his filing that there was not enough evidence to support Thompson's conviction because no testimony showed influence on Thompson from her superiors to award the contract to a particular vendor, nor was there testimony that showed her bosses actually favored Adelman Travel Group, which was awarded the contract after a best and final offer procedure was used.

Hurley also argues that the prosecution failed to show personal gain on Thompson's behalf and that "at best, the evidence demonstrates a violation of the applicable sections of the Wisconsin Administrative Code" which he says is insufficient to support federal charges.

Hurley further agues that there was no testimony from DOA procurement specialist Dave Webb, who conducted the best and final offer procedure, about Thompson's conduct.

In the filing, Hurley takes issue with Randa's rulings on the admissibility of evidence based on witnesses' perceptions of Thompson's motivation for certain actions. Hurley says "such testimony was premised on speculation and conjecture regarding Georgia Thompson's intent." Hurley cites a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said "Speculation,'funny' looks, and 'raised eyebrows' are not sufficient to convict people for knowingly participating in a scheme to defraud."

Hurley makes similar arguments in asking for a new trial. He argues testimony by several witnesses, admitted over his objections, was based on speculation and hearsay.

Hurley requested the court allow him 30 days to file a supporting brief, another 30 days for the government to respond and an additional five days to respond to the government's objections.

Read the filing: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/060620acquittal.pdf

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