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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Lawmaker Seeks New Trial In Dark Money Case

Rep. Art Wittich (R) HD68
Montana Legislature

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana lawmaker is asking for a new trial after a jury ruled he took illegal corporate contributions from an anti-union organization in 2010.

Attorneys for Republican Rep. Art Wittich of Bozeman said in their motion Friday that jurors relied on faulty evidence and cost estimates provided by a witness. They also said the state's definition of a campaign contribution is unconstitutional and that a juror was inappropriately dismissed at the beginning of the trial.

The jury ruled in April that Wittich took $19,599 in illegal and unreported in-kind contributions from the National Right to Work Committee and its affiliates. District Judge Ray Dayton ordered Wittich to pay more than $80,000 in fines and costs.

Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl, who led the case against Wittich, did not return an after-hours call for comment.

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