Defense Lines up Witnesses as Balfour Trial Continues

18
Dec

Defense Lines up Witnesses as Balfour Trial Continues

Testimony Tuesday morning from the state’s second witness, legislative fiscal officer Robyn Underwood, contained some elements that seemingly were more helpful to the defense.

Underwood, who has worked for the General Assembly for more than 30 years and as head of both chambers’ fiscal office since 2002, confirmed that Balfour claimed expenses for which he was not entitled. But Underwood conceded during cross examination that she had no proof that he intended to make false claims. She also admitted her office made its own clerical mistakes involving Balfour’s reimbursement requests. For instance, her staff paid Balfour in error twice for one day in which he was entitled to expenses.

[Defense attorney Ken] Hodges brought up 391 days in which Balfour did not submit reimbursement claims even though he could have, including more than 7,000 eligible miles totaling more than $3,000. Hodges also mentioned that Balfour opted out of the state’s pension plan, saving taxpayers more than $100,000. Hill repeated the claims later, arguing that the state couldn’t prove mens rea.

[Roy]

Barnes, the one-term Democratic governor who left office in 2002, testified that he found Balfour to be “a man of integrity” despite their political party differences. He also testified that reimbursement mistakes were not uncommon for legislators.

“I hate to say this but you sign whatever your staff puts out because you’re so dang busy,” said Barnes, who also chaired the Senate’s Judiciary Committee prior to becoming governor.

Defense Lines up Witnesses as Balfour Trial Continues | DailyReportOnline.com

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