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Paschall trial in the hands of jurors

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By AJ Vicens

On Wednesday, the political appointee at the center of accusations that former Jeffco treasurer Mark Paschall solicited a kickback testified that she was the one being set up, not him.

Testifying at the second day of Paschall’s trial on theft charges in Jefferson County court, Redmond said Paschall, her boss, offered her an $18,000 bonus in December 2006 on the condition that she give him a half.

"I was the one being set up," said Kathy Redmond. "I was trying to find a way out."

Redmond was one of two political appointees who worked in the treasurer's office while Paschall was the county’s elected treasurer. Paschall has been charged with two felonies counts, one for attempted criminal theft, and one for compensation for past official behavior.

Redmond helped the Jeffco DA's office record Paschall talking about the alleged kickback scheme, and some of those recordings were played on the second day of Paschall's trial.

Redmond testified that the deal Paschall allegedly proposed to her made her uncomfortable from the beginning, so she went to County Commissioner Jim Congrove and reported what had happened. Congrove then went to Jeffco District Attorney Scott Storey, who launched an investigation.

But Paschall's attorney, David Lane, has contended that Congrove engineered the investigation as "political payback." Lane said Congrove "hates Mark Paschall with an undying passion" because Paschall refused to tell him about his testimony before a grand jury investigating Congrove. “In the world of political intrigue, that is an offense Mr. Congrove is not going to put up with," Lane said earlier at the trial.

The jurors heard several tape recordings Wednesday, including two phone conversations and several voice-mails Paschall left on Redmond's cell phone. During one of the conversations, taped Jan. 5, 2007, Paschall asked Redmond if she'd "heard what's going on." He said Congrove "took issue" with the $18,000 check Redmond was to receive and held up final approval of the check. Paschall said that former Courier reporter Heath Urie wanted to talk to him, and that other reporters were trying to talk with county staffers about the matter.

"Don't take calls from anyone from the press," Paschall said. "They're going to make a big issue of it."

Redmond asked how the payment was to be described in official filings, because she was concerned that different labels —“severance” versus “bonus” versus “award” — would affect her upcoming unemployment. Paschall said it was labeled a "bonus and award," and she asked if they were still talking about "a third to taxes, a third to me and a third to you?"

"Right," Paschall said.

After Paschall hung up the phone, Redmond can be heard on the recording saying, "Oh, Mark, you stupid, stupid, stupid man."

Redmond admitted during questioning by Lane that she consulted with her sister, an accountant, about the tax hit on the check — even though she claims that she never wanted to accept the money.

Carl Blesch, the former investigator with the DA's office who made the recordings, testified Feb. 13 that he and Dennis Hall, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case at the time, specifically told Redmond not to try to lead Paschall to admitting anything. Blesch did admit to holding a note up to Redmond when she was on the phone with Paschall, in effect attempting to guide the conversation, but claimed that he couldn't remember what the note said.

The prosecution plans to rest its case early Feb. 14, and Lane said the case would be in the jury's hands later in the day.

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier,com for breaking news and updates.