Circuit Judge Brent Davis of Jonesboro signed an order today naming Jack McQuary as special prosecutor in the case of Sen. Paul Bookout, cited by the Ethics Commission for violation of four campaign finance laws. The Commission has only civil jurisdiction and fined and reprimanded Bookout. The laws can carry criminal misdemeanor penalties and that’s what McQuary will review.
McQuary has worked a number of years as a staff attorney in the state prosecutor co-ordinator’s office. It employs two lawyers who work on special assignments when regular prosecutors have conflicts, as Scott Ellington said he did in this case. His past work history includes time in prosecuting attorney offices in both Pulaski and Saline Counties and his work takes him around the state. He was out of the office today, but typically will issue a statement on his plans for proceeding, said Proseuctor coordinator Bob McMahan.
McQuary is expected to ask the State Police to investigate and report.
Here’s Davis order. It says McQuary has power for a full investigation, “including but not limited to the filing of criminal charges and prosecution of same to their conclusion, or shall report his declination of charges to this honorable court stating that no further proceedings are indicated.”