CALDWELL -- We are learning more about the grand theft charges against former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak who is accused of stealing more than $200,000 from the county.
A judge is hearing testimony to determine whether the state's criminal case against Bujak should proceed to trial.
This preliminary hearing is likely to take a couple days for the judge to decide whether this is a case where there is enough evidence to bring it to a jury.
Bujak is accused of stealing Canyon County's money by taking a portion of proceeds from a prosecution contract the city of Nampa held with the county.
Bujak has admitted personally getting money from the contract, but the issue here is whether he was entitled to that money, and if he accurately represented to the county that he could make money from that agreement.
County commissioners and Nampa's city attorney say they never intended for Bujak to personally profit from the contract, and they individually said they didn't even realize he was taking payments until around or after the time he resigned in fall 2010.
Commissioner Steve Rule explained in court that when the contract was set up, and later amended to have Bujak's name and title on the checks, Bujak was not supposed to personally profit.
The judge would not allow us to record audio or videotape the witnesses, but here are excerpts on the issue:
Commissioner Rule said, It was represented that neither he [Bujak] nor [Chief of Staff] Tim Fleming would profit personally from that contract.
Commissioner Kathy Alder says the board wouldn't have known about billing specifics or trouble collecting. She said, Mr. Bujak was, I think, well-liked, and I don't know if [the auditor and controller] challenged it.
Nampa's city attorney for civil matters testified saying when the contract finances began being questioned in the summer of 2010, he asked Bujak flat out if he'd taken money from the contract, and Bujak answered no.
The Latah County prosecutor who has been brought in to handle the case said this is an unusually long preliminary hearing, but he added its complicated and he needs to call many witnesses -- like all three commissioners.