Friday, July 21, 2006

Attorney Says Thompson Verdict Shows Bias Against Politicians, Seeks Acquittal or New Trial

Comments made to the media by two jurors show that they convicted Georgia Thompson based on inference, not fact, according to a brief filed this week by the former Department of Administration employee's lawyer.

Attorney Stephen Hurley says in the brief "the government did not produce any direct or 'smoking gun' evidence of Georgia Thompson's alleged wrong-doing. Instead, the government's case layered inference upon speculation upon inference and relied on the public's underlying bias against politicians (and public servants) - believing all politicians to be crooks - to obtain a guilty verdict."

Hurley cites comments from juror Marvin Bizelle, Sr., who according to Hurley "stated the jury believed higher ranking administration officials, including Governor James Doyle, were involved in the RFP Partner contract's award to Adelman Travel Group." Bizelle's statements were not supported by evidence at the trial, Hurley said, or by comments made by U.S. Atty. Steven Biskupic.

A federal jury found Georgia Thompson guilty on two felony counts today for steering a $750,000 state travel contract to a Milwaukee travel company whose executives donated to Gov. Jim Doyle.

Thompson faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on the two felony fraud counts for causing the misapplication of funds and participating in a scheme to defraud the state of Wisconsin of the right to honest services. She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 22.

The brief also argues that the state did not prove criminal conduct, did not prove that Thompson gained personally from her actions, or that there was any wrongdoing by her superiors or subordinates.

The prosecution has 30 days to file a response.


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