The Herald Bulletin

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Cops, courts and fires

July 2, 2013

Ex-prosecutor pleads guilty to bribery charge

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge has accepted a former Marion County deputy prosecutor's guilty plea to accepting a bribe.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker accepted 53-year-old David Wyser's agreement with prosecutors Tuesday in Indianapolis. Wyser had worked in Madison County as a deputy prosecutor from January 2012 to May, but resigned after the allegations of bribery.

The case is not connected to his work in Madison County. Prosecutor Rodney Cummings has said Wyser did an outstanding job while working in Madison County.

The plea bargain requires Wyser to tell prosecutors everything he knows about public corruption in Indianapolis.

Wyser could face up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended his sentence be reduced, but Barker is not bound by the recommendation.

No date for sentencing was set.

Wyser was the top deputy prosecutor under former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Prosecutors allege he accepted a $2,500 bribe in 2009 to reduce the 70-year sentence of a prisoner convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The money allegedly came from the prisoner's father.

The alleged sentence reduction scheme first surfaced in 2010, when Brizzi’s office denied it to Indianapolis media. According to news reports at the time, the woman’s father had also donated nearly $30,000 to Brizzi’s campaign from 2006 through 2008, and her sentence was reduced so much that she became eligible for early release.

Brizzi’s office said in January 2010 that the woman’s release was based solely on the merits of the case and that campaign contributions had “no role or influence.” Brizzi resisted calls to resign, but he didn’t seek re-election to a third term as prosecutor.

Brizzi’s campaign finance chairman in 2006 was Timothy Durham, a wealthy Indianapolis businessman and major Republican donor who was sentenced to 50 years in prison in November after a federal jury convicted him of securities fraud, conspiracy and 10 counts of wire fraud. Prosecutors said Durham and two co-conspirators took $200 million from investors in Fair Finance, based in Akron, Ohio. Durham is appealing those convictions.

Herald Bulletin staff reporter Jack Molitor contributed to this story.

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