Thursday, December 16, 2010

BUTLER COUNTY: Lang Indicted for Perjury NOT Dynus Case

Everytime the Journal-News gets a chance to smear a Republican from Butler County, they take it.  Bad headlines.  Misleading emails.  Crappy journalism.  You name it, they've done it.

The latest news involves West Chester Trustee George Lang, who was NOT indicted for the Dynus case, but rather for allegedly perjuring himself testifying in the Dynus case.  And if the journalism is solid, I think the government is going to have a really hard time proving their case.  Let's go to the clip...
According to the indictment released just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Lang “knowingly made a false material declaration” on Aug. 11, 2009, in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati while testifying in the federal case against Orlando Carter, the owner of the now-defunct Dynus Technologies.

During Carter’s trial, former Dynus president Jim Smith testified that Lang gave him a $100,000 kickback payment after the trustee’s agency was paid $360,000 in a lobbying contract. According to court testimony, Lang’s agency was paid to introduce Dynus officials to county officials in an effort to help the company obtain a contract to use the county’s fiber optics network to create a phone, Internet and video company.
Lang, who is the majority partner in Performance Benefits Solution and the Lang Agency, [ALLEGEDLY]perjured himself when he testified that he did not know that Smith was an employee of Dynus, and stated Smith was an “independent contractor” in 2004, according to the indictment. At the time, Smith was the company’s marketing director.
Note the added word in that last paragraph.

Let's define perjury so we have some idea what we're talking about and what all of this actually means.
When a person, having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the U.S. authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true; 18 USC

In order for a person to be found guilty of perjury the government must prove: the person testified under oath before [e.g., the grand jury]; at least one particular statement was false; and the person knew at the time the testimony was false.
The testimony of one witness is not enough to support a finding that the testimony was false. There must be additional evidence, either the testimony of another person or other evidence, which tends to support the testimony of falsity. The other evidence, standing alone, need not convince that the testimony was false, but all the evidence on the subject must do so.
Now, lying is bad, especially under oath...but if the reporting in the article is accurate, I don't believe that the alleged lie will stand up in court against Lang and here is why:
Perjury is the "willful and corrupt taking of a false oath in regard to a material matter in a judicial proceeding." It is sometimes called "lying under oath;" that is, deliberately telling a lie in a courtroom proceeding after having taken an oath to tell the truth. It is important that the false statement be material to the case at hand—that it could affect the outcome of the case. It is not considered perjury, for example, to lie about your age, unless your age is a key factor in proving the case.
Unless there is significant evidence -- that we don't know about -- that illustrates that Lang knew that Smith was an employee of Dynus at the time, then this whole thing is rubbish.

More importantly, I don't see how that is vital to the Dynus case either.  Unless I am missing something that the lawyers in the audience would care to educate me of...

UPDATE:  It occurs to me that it is possible that the perjury charge is an opening move by the government and that further charges could be coming.  That is a possibility, I suppose.  Although, as an observer of this case over the last couple of years, I have to think that it is a bit late for another round of actual Dynus-related prosecutions.

UPDATE 2The follow-up story sucks too.  Is it too much to ask that journalists stick to providing information that is germane to the story but doesn't add extraneous information that doesn't explain the story. The only reason to add this stuff is to make the subject look bad.  The whole "Money exchanged" section has NOTHING to do with the perjury charge against Lang and is included only to smear Lang by associated non-relevent facts to a story that isn't about the money.  The Lang story is about whether or not Lang knew that Smith was an employee of Dynus and not an "independent contractor" as Lang testified.  The payments have nothing to do with this story and only distracts the reader from the facts of the Lang story.