Easterly case goes to trial

DALLAS -- The West Salem man accused of attempting to bribe members of the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District is scheduled to go to trial early next year.



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E.M. Easterly

DALLAS -- The West Salem man accused of attempting to bribe members of the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District is scheduled to go to trial early next year.

A trial is set to begin Feb. 7, 2012, in the case in which E.M. Easterly is facing five counts of bribe giving.

The trial date was set at a pretrial conference held Monday, Oct. 3,

before Polk County Circuit Court Judge William Horner.

Easterly is accused of trying to bribe five members of the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District Board: Chad Woods, Claude White, Frank Pender, David Simmons and Thomas Thomson.

The incident in question occurred at the board's March 9 meeting.

The meeting's minutes document Easterly offering board members $600 to not approve a district treasurer's report. He told the board at the meeting he had found discrepancies in previous treasurer's reports issued earlier in the year and didn't believe the March report could be accurate.

Before the meeting, Easterly had given White, the board's chairman, a copy of a spreadsheet documenting what he believed were errors.

Easterly made the offer during the public comment portion of the meeting.

"Easterly held up six $100 bills," the minutes read. "He stated based on the spreadsheet, he had $600 and was willing to give $100 to each director who was willing to sign an oath statement and not approve the treasurer report until it was verified."

Easterly then gave the board copies of the oath, displayed the money on the table and sat down, according to the minutes.

Easterly has called the incident simply "a stunt" and has questioned whether it equated to bribery.



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