Lawyers Make Closing Arguments in GRM Trial

Sept. 15, 2006 – Attorneys for former Sen. Alicia Hansen and two businessmen told jurors Friday that evidence against their clients was "flimsy" and that federal prosecutors had failed to meet their burden of proof.
Prosecutors said Hansen helped contractor Ashley Andrews and accountant Campbell Malone get $25,000 from the V.I. Legislature in 2002 for work the men never completed in exchange for a $1,000 campaign contribution.
Hansen was the only of the three to take the stand in the nearly month-long trial, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy asked jurors to evaluate her credibility as a witness.
Hansen's husband, Esdel Hansen, worked with Andrews and Malone, and was initially indicted but District Court Judge James Giles, who is presiding over the trial, threw out charges against the former Public Works Department employee in July.
Andrews and Malone are accused of obtaining a $3.6 million contract for St. Croix sewer repair, through their ties to Ohanio Harris, a former aide to Gov. Charles Turnbull.
Harris pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conflict of interest in July.
The sewer work on St. Croix was to fulfill a 1984 consent decree with the U.S. government. Sewage regularly pilled into the streets of the island until, in 2001, a federal judge ordered the Virgin Islands to set up a trust fund to pay for the repairs.
Turnbull then gave Andrews' and Malone's company, Global Resources Management, the contract for repairs without bids from other companies.
When Turnbull voided the contract before authorizing work to begin, Andrews and Malone allegedly filed false claims for work they'd already done.
One part of the claim seeking government compensation listed GRM employees working more than 24 hours in a single day.
Andrews' attorney, Stephen Brusch, said such claims were mistakes and not evidence of criminal intent.
The territorial government never paid the claim.
Prosecutors allege a host of other misfilings by Andrews and Malone, including allegedly falsifying asset statements while seeking a bond to insure their work.
Both men stood trial in July but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

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