Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007 | 6:57 a.m.
The attorney for former County Commissioner Lynette Boggs, who has been charged with lying about where she lived, appears ready to pull out a legal dictionary to get the case dismissed.
In documents filed with the court before a hearing scheduled for Thursday at the Regional Justice Center, attorney Gabriel Grasso contends the district attorney's office failed to define "residence" when seeking an indictment from a grand jury. Grasso seeks to have a total of four charges against Boggs dismissed before the case reaches a trial in the spring.
Such motions are common but typically fail. And considering the mountain of evidence the prosecution has amassed against Boggs, this should be a tough case for the defense.
Boggs was charged in June with falsifying documents to make it appear she lived in her district, but there is video evidence that appears to indicate she did not. Part of Grasso's contention is that Boggs, who ultimately lost the November 2006 election, lived in her district when she filed her candidacy papers.
State law requires candidates to have lived in the district in which they are running for at least 30 days before the filing deadline.
But a private detective hired by two unions that have feuded with Boggs amassed six weeks' worth of video showing her picking up the newspaper, hauling out trash and spending nights at a home outside her district. It was not the home she listed in election filings.
A former campaign associate who lived in Boggs' district, Linda Ferris, has testified the then-county commissioner implored her to use that address to satisfy the residency requirement.
All of that may be null and void if a District Court judge accepts Grasso's argument that the state, in its statement to the grand jury, did not properly define what a "residence" is. Without such a definition, he said, the state cannot determine that the house Boggs appeared to be living in, which was not the house in her district, was illegitimate.
Grasso couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.
Prosecutor Scott Mitchell, however, said under state law the state doesn't have to define what a residence is.
Grasso also maintains that Boggs did not intentionally provide false information in her campaign paperwork, thus rendering a charge of perjury baseless. Under this argument, a mistake does not render the document a fake.
The district attorney's office has cited case law that it says deems otherwise. "Any forgery of any document usually just has one or two words that are forged," Mitchell said. "The fact that the rest of the document is (seemingly accurate) doesn't make any difference at all."
Boggs, who now runs a Christian ministry, also has been charged with misusing political funds.
Her nanny, Kelly McLeod, said in a sworn statement that she received several payments from Boggs' campaign committee but never performed any political work for Boggs. Instead, McLeod said, she watched Boggs' two children from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. most weekdays.
Grasso acknowledged in his court filings that state law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use, but he added: "Unfortunately, there is no further definition of what would be considered personal use of campaign funds."
District Attorney David Roger said his office has provided a sufficient basis for the case to move to trial, scheduled for March 31.
"We feel we're on solid ground," he said.
If convicted, Boggs faces one to four years in prison on each of two perjury charges and one to five years behind bars on each of two false filing charges.