BOISE — A former Idaho Department of Correction employee testified Friday that prison supervisors kept three sets of financial books in an effort to hide the full costs of lethal injection executions from the public.
Another employee testified that in an unusual move, two top prison officials were listed on financial documents as “vendors” for execution-related purchases totaling more than $26,000, made in cash.
The testimony came in a lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Correction by University of Idaho professor Aliza Cover, who sued after the department largely turned down her 2017 public records request for execution-related documents.
Joanne Sooter was a purchasing agent for Idaho Department of Correction during the 2011 execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades and the 2012 execution of Richard Albert Leavitt.
Sooter, who now works for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, told 4th District Judge Lynn Norton that her IDOC supervisor created three sets of records because the department wanted to hide the full cost of lethal injections from the public.
Sooter said department officials anticipated a high level of public interest in the executions and wanted to be prepared for any requests for execution-related financial documents under the Idaho Public Records Act. The first set of books was intended to be given out in response to those requests, she said.
“My understanding was they didn’t want to show a tremendous amount of money being…