Verdict Reached in Bohling Trial
Former Albany County Attorney Richard Bohling was found guilty on five counts, including four felonies, in Albany County District Court on Saturday.
At about 4:45 p.m., the jury returned a verdict of guilty on four felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and one misdemeanor count of official misconduct.
He was found not guilty on the felony charges of wrongful taking or disposing of property and submitting false vouchers, as well as on the misdemeanor charge of wrongful appropriation of public funds. A ninth charge, misdemeanor misuse of office, was dismissed after a motion from the state.
As the jury was dismissed on Saturday, Judge John R. Perry of Gillette prepared to consider a defense motion submitted pursuant to Rule 29. Under the rule, “if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction on such offense or offenses… the court may on such motion set aside the verdict and enter judgment of acquittal…” Bohling’s attorneys are not currently contemplating an appeal, but might consider filing for one if their motion is denied.
Bohling’s bond is being continued. He was ordered on Saturday to submit to a presentence investigation, including reporting to the Wyoming Department of Corrections Field Office no later than 5 p.m. Monday evening.
The jury deliberated for nearly eight hours on Friday and 7-8 hours on Saturday. The two-week case saw testimony from numerous current and former Albany County employees including Jackie Gonzalez, Rodney Weekly, and Sheriff David O’Malley.
Bohling himself took the stand on Thursday, describing the equipment he purchased and the investigation by the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation. Bohling choked up as he recounted a phone call in which Mr. Weekly told him that DCI was investigating the Albany County Attorney’s Office.
“I felt like I’d been sucker-punched. I was angry and I was scared about what they were trying to do to me,” said Bohling.
According to court documents, DCI began to investigate “purchasing irregularities” within the Albany County Attorney’s Office in March 2014 after county employees alleged that Bohling had used vouchers to procure items that were not being used in the office. A search warrant for the office was executed by DCI on May 1, 2014. During their search, agents seized several cameras, numerous lenses, and other digital equipment purchased with county funds.
A “quiet audit” conducted by Albany County Clerk Jackie Gonzalez during the last week of Feb. 2014 and the beginning of March 2014 compiled a list of 196 “questionable” purchases made between Aug. 3 2011 and Nov. 5 2013; those expenditures totaled about $19,936. It was only the second audit of its type conducted in Albany County in the last 35 years.
The state’s closing argument on Friday was made by Christyne Martens of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office.
“He got what he wanted all along, but the trouble is that what he wanted was these items for personal benefit,” said Martens. “This case is not about the number of witnesses or the number of vouchers submitted… it’s about the truth.”