Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thompson trial at the turn

I don't know that Georgia Thompson will be convicted, but there seems to be well corroborated and so far unshaken testimony that she wanted Adelman to get the contract and that her bosses wanted Adelman to get the contract. It also seems clear that she regarded the need for Adelman to get the contract as "political." She can argue, I suppose, that she was just reflecting the desire of her bosses to award the contract to someone who they believed to be the low cost bidder or otherwise better than the competition.

Although it seems completely implausible that her bosses were motivated by merit and not money, proving that she was aware of the reason that Adelman was preferred is probably critical. The jury must conclude that she misapplied funds or conspired to deprive the state of honest services. Her lawyer is right in suggesting that, in the typical application of these statutes, the defendant receives a more direct benefit (typically a bribe). If you accede to your bosses' wishes to award the contract to the low bidder (notwithstanding what the bid process entailed), I don't know that you violated either statute. If you knowingly participate in your bosses' desire to award a contract to a campaign donor, you probably have.

The state has rested. We have testimony that she repeatedly said it had to be Adelman, e.g., testimony that Thompson said that the choice of Omega "wouldn't fly," that "politically it wasn't what needed to happen," and that it "can't be done," statements by her that the contract "needed to go to Adelman," and testimony that she expressed concern about "how I'm going to tell my bosses it's not Adelman." Is that enough to convince the jury that she knowingly participated in a scheme to award the contract to a campaign donor?

We also have testimony that Doyle seems to have been inordinately interested in Adelman and the travel contract and that evaluation of the best and final offer was manipulated. Based on what I've gleaned from media accounts, Thompson's connection to these things remains unclear.

I don't know if Thompson will be convicted (right now, I'm guessing not) but it seems very likely that the process was cooked. If she is acquitted, it will be no vindication of Doyle.

1 comment:

Seth Zlotocha said...

Already setting-up the convenient fall-back story, huh? No matter which way the jury goes in a trial against Georgia Thompson, Jim Doyle is guilty.