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|Monzo Makes Court Appearance With Public Defender, Earlier Than Scheduled, Outside of the Media
|An elected official who faces a charge felony theft charge made a first appearance in court - nearly an hour before her scheduled time.
Knox County Recorder of Deeds Paula Monzo was in Knox County Circuit Court Friday on accusations she stole around $3,500 of funds from the Knox County Democratic Party. Her appearance before a judge was scheduled to begin at 11am but was moved up, as one source says, not to avoid the media, but rather for convenience as all parties were present at that time.
Judge James Stewart, during the hearing, granted a motion filed by Knox County State's Attorney John Pepmeyer to remove him from the case and appoint a special prosecutor. Pepmeyer says he is a potential witness in the case and a member of the organization that is the alleged victim. He says acting as a witness and an attorney in the same case is prohibited as a conflict of interest.
Monzo, the treasurer of the Knox County Democratic Party, was arrested earlier this week after Democratic Party Chair Norm Winick said he was alerted to suspicious activity on the account. Galesburg Police reports indicate she's accused of writing checks to herself and to cash because she was having trouble paying bills and had a cocaine habit, which she admitted to authorities, but says she paid about a thousand dollars of the missing money back.
A county official recently said there is no reason to believe any county funds have been mishandled as part of the case but it will be up to the Knox County Board to decide if audits are necessary.
Monzo will be back in court December 16th for a hearing with the special prosecutor being named in the case some time before then.
If convicted on the theft charge, Monzo could face a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.
|11 13 09 by Newsroom
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