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Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Ige loses round
in campaign finance
case; no plans to settle

By Rick Daysog

The attorney general's office can proceed with one of seven criminal charges against state Sen. Marshall Ige, a state judge ruled.

Circuit Judge Sandra Simms yesterday denied Ige's motion to dismiss a criminal count for false swearing and rejected Ige's request to suppress evidence gathered by the state in its investigation into alleged campaign finance abuses.

Simms said she will rule on motions to dismiss the remaining criminal charges against Ige (D, Kaneohe) on Friday.

The state filed a seven-count criminal complaint against Ige in July 1999, saying the lawmaker failed to report campaign contributions, failed to disclose a campaign deficit and accepted an improper campaign loan.

Most of the charges, which are misdemeanors, stemmed from the state's investigation of the Bishop Estate and its outside vendors.

If convicted, Ige could face up to a year in jail and receive a $2,000 fine for each count. He also would be barred from seeking an elected office.

A trial date has not been set.

Ige, who appeared in court with his attorney, Mike McCarthy, said he was disappointed by Simms' ruling and noted that the ordeal has been trying for his family. Ige, who is running for re-election this fall, said he has no plans of settling the case with the state.

"It's not a happy day for me. My family has been through hell for the last two years," Ige said. "I guess the nightmare is just beginning."

McCarthy argued that the criminal charges should be thrown out since the two-year statute of limitations for the alleged campaign finance abuses had expired by time the state filed its criminal complaint against Ige.

McCarthy also charged that the state "sandbagged" his client during two August 1998 interviews by leading Ige into believing that he was to testify about the Bishop Estate and not about his own campaign finances.

Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn said that Ige's testimony was voluntary and was taken in the presence of his attorney. Spohn said the state notified Ige that he was a potential target when they read him his Miranda rights before their interviews with him.

Spohn also noted that the statutes of limitations for the criminal charges recently were expanded to five years.

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