Because of the case’s high profile in Skamania County, a judge has signed an order changing the venue of trial of a former county auditor accused of shredding public documents.
Defense attorney Jon McMullen requested J. Michael Garvison’s trial take place in Clark County instead of Skamania County “on the grounds that the pretrial publicity, which has occurred in this case, is highly prejudicial and would deny the defendant due process of law.”
Skamania County Superior Court Judge Brian Altman granted the request Feb. 2. No trial date has been set.
Garvison’s case was covered extensively in Stevenson by the Skamania County Pioneer newspaper; The Columbian and Portland TV news stations also have run several stories.
McMullen did not return a call from The Columbian seeking comment as of press time Monday.
Garvison, 40, is charged with two felony counts of injury to public record for allegedly shredding documents that authorities have said show unauthorized spending during his tenure. The records in question were vouchers that showed Garvison’s expenditures in 2003 and 2004. A state audit had found Garvison used thousands of dollars in public money for unauthorized travel, education and office equipment expenses during four years as the county’s elected auditor.
The unauthorized expenses included 13 out-of-state trips, including two conferences in Florida and one in Las Vegas. For 2008 and 2009, he allegedly had billed the county for about $83,000 in trips.
Garvison resigned in November 2009 shortly after news of his expenditures became public. He lives in Ohio.