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Witness testifies Idaho prison officials kept misleading financial books

Posted: 2:51 PM, Feb 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-01 21:51:45Z

BOISE — A former Idaho Department of Correction employee says prison leaders kept three sets of financial books in an effort to hide the full costs of lethal injection executions from the public.

Former IDOC purchasing agent Joanne Sooter testified Friday that her IDOC supervisors created the three sets of records so they would have one book with lower costs to show anyone who requested the information under the Idaho Public Records Act. She says a second book with slightly more information was created to give any requestor who "pushed back" seeking more info.

Sooter says only the third book detailed all the actual expenses.

Her former supervisor, Theo Lowe, testified she didn't remember any such set of books. She says the expenses were kept together -- except for a log of construction costs for a new execution chamber. Lowe says building-related expenses are typically kept separate.

The testimony came in a trial over the Department's handling of public records requests involving execution documents.

(by Rebecca Boone, Associated Press)