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Recall Decision In The Hands Of Judge

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We will know by this time tomorrow whether the effort to recall Mayor Jim Suttle will continue or whether it will come to an end.
Two-and-a-half days of testimony in the case came to a close today at the Douglas County Courthouse.

The fate of the recall effort is now in the hands of one man. Judge Peter Bataillon will decide whether Mayor Jim Suttle's attorney made a strong enough case to prove there was enough fraud involved with the recall process to throw out more than 26,000 signatures gathered from Omahans who wanted to see a recall election take place.

"We didn't walk out today with a verdict so it's in the judge's hands," said recall leader Jeremy Aspen.

Aspen left Judge Bataillon's courtroom confident that Mayor Suttle's attorney, Vince Powers, did not do enough to stop the recall process.

"We're confident in everything that was presented," said Aspen. "We're confident that they're not going to have enough evidence to throw out 29000 signatures of Omahans that just want to see a recall election."

But on the last day of testimony, Powers called Doug Barak to the stand, a man who recorded with his camera phone, what Barak claimed were petitioners making false statements about the recall.

"Their safeguard was Paul Jacob," said Suttle attorney, Vince Powers.

But in his closing argument, Powers focused on the man the recall committee hired to train petitioners, Paul Jacob.

"They put all their faith in Paul Jacob," said Powers. "He said I made sure the law was followed. Then the gentleman who came in yesterday at 4:30 at the very first meeting of the circulators that he attended, Paul Jacob said it would be 20 dollars for 20 signatures. I think it's pretty clear who you believe."

Powers presented several petitioners, who were told they would be paid by the signature, something that is illegal in Nebraska and something Aspen has always denied.

"Tomorrow we'll have a verdict," said Aspen. We'll be able to say we're happy with the results I hope and the next step is to have a recall election of the Mayor."

The judge will announce his decision tomorrow at the Douglas County Courthouse at 1:30.

Suttle's attorney also said no circulators took the stand to say they weren't paid by the signature.
Recall attorney J. L. Spray said he was shocked by the lack of evidence produced by Forward Omaha's attempt to find people whose names were on the petition but didn't actually sign it.

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