The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

January 10, 2014

Bennett hires top-flight defense in ethics case

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has hired a pair of top criminal defense attorneys to fight charges he misused state resources to campaign for office, including the lawyer who helped write some of the ethics laws Bennett is accused of violating.

Larry Mackey and Jason Barclay, lawyers with the Indianapolis powerhouse firm Barnes and Thornburg, are representing Bennett before the State Ethics Commission. Barclay helped draft an overhaul of state ethics laws in 2005 while working as a lawyer for former Gov. Mitch Daniels. And Mackey built a national profile prosecuting Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh before taking over the white-collar defense arm of Barnes and Thornburg.

The ethics commission not only could banish Bennett from future state work in Indiana but also could refer the case to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry for a criminal investigation. Tasking state employees with doing political work, dubbed "ghost employment" is a minor felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

Having powerhouse lawyers on his side could help reduce any punishment against Bennett, said David Orentlicher, co-director of the Hall Center for Law and Health at Indiana University's McKinney School of Law. Barclay in particular could be valuable, he said, because he helped craft the 2005 ethics legislation that, among many other things, established the position of inspector general and rewrote parts of the code Bennett is alleged to have broken.

Mackey defended politically connected developer John Bales against federal charges that he defrauded the state in a leasing scheme. A federal jury found Bales not guilty on all 13 counts last February.

But the team could have trouble defending against the actual charges Bennett faces because his violations seem clear, said Orentlicher, a former Democratic state representative who served from 2002-2008.

"It's hard to see it in this case. If it's really true he did use state resources and staff for political purposes, that's a pretty bright line," he said.

Text Only
Breaking News
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you plan to attend one of the public sessions about the Mounds Lake reservoir project?

Yes
No
Not sure yet
     View Results