Former Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney John Bujak has been allowed by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Lodge to represent himself in his upcoming federal bankruptcy fraud trial, the Idaho Press Tribune
reported this morning.
The judge granted a motion to remove the public defender appointed to represent Bujak in the trial, set to begin May 6 at Boise’s federal courthouse. Court records show Bujak faces charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, making false statements under oath, money laundering and two counts of obstruction of justice. During his first court appearance before a federal grand jury on Jan. 23, he pleaded not guilty on all charges.
Prosecutors plan to call Jose Vivero, a Miami Beach jeweler thought to have purchased a woman’s Rolex from Bujak, to testify. Court documents say Vivero paid Bujak $25,000 for the watch, though the value is estimated to be $100,000.
It’s suspected that Bujak didn’t claim ownership of the watch on a list of assets when he filed for bankruptcy. Authorities suspect he sold the watch and then cashed the check at a Money Tree store rather than his own bank, concealing the sale from the bankruptcy trustee and his creditors. He claimed the watch was a gift for his mother-in-law and said he no longer possessed it when he filed for bankruptcy. Investigators suspect he persuaded his wife to make false statements under oath to back him up as well.
Bujak’s history in the courts includes a charge of grand theft in 2011—later amended to misuse of public funds—when he was accused of embezzling around $300,000 through the city of Nampa’s misdemeanor prosecution contract. He was found not guilty in 2013 and cleared of those charges.