Monday, June 12, 2006

Prosecution: Case Comes Down to Credibility

Assistant US Attorney Gregory Haanstad opened the government's closing argument by arguing the case is about a defendant who steered a contract because of "improper political considerations."

Haanstad methodically laid out the case for the nine men and three women in the jury box, who listened attentively and read the PowerPoint presentation on flat-screen monitors mounted before them.

Haanstad said Thompson "manipulated a lucrative state contract to Adelman Travel" when she realized that the business, whose executives had donated money to Gov. Jim Doyle's campaign, would not receive any of the state travel contracts her committee was considering.

Haanstad said Thompson manipulated the process by inflating her scores for Adelman, pressuring others to do so and advocating for a best and final offer process that would take the final evaluation away from the committee. He also said she manipulated the scores of the best and final offer by rounding decimals in favor of Adelman and bending a tie-breaking procedure in the company's favor.

Haanstad said the case comes down to the credibility of witnesses presented by the prosecution vs. Thompson.

The prosecution witnesses corroborate one another's testimony, which is supported by documents, he said. Thompson, he said, has been inconsistent in her explanations of the events over time, from the initial process to the WKOW-TV interview she gave to her court testimony.

"Her version changes over time," Haanstad said.

Haanstad argued that after the oral presentations that Thompson saw the writing on the wall and knew Adelman wouldn't be awarded the partner contract. Haanstad recounted testimony by Ian Thomas. "This is where you're going to have to weigh the credibility of witnesses. Ian Thomas says, 'I don't know how I'm going to tell my bosses it's not Adelman.' Georgia Thompson denied making that statement."

Haanstad said regardless of the exact words used, that those who testified took Thompson to mean she was concerned with the political consequences of not awarding the contract to Adelman.

Haanstad said that Thompson admitted to changing her own score on the athletics travel contract based on "political considerations and criteria not stipulated in the RFP," and that she encouraged others to do the same for Adelman on the partner contract.

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