- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2008

RICHMOND - Prosecutors dropped a felony embezzlement charge yesterday against a former state game warden accused of misusing public funds to equip a two-week African safari in 2004.

Terry C. Bradbery was among three former Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officials indicted after a state audit criticized them for charging $11,532 on state credit cards to prepare for the safari. A judge dismissed charges against Michael G. Caison last month, ruling purchases made by the former game warden were authorized by the department’s director.

The former director, William L. Woodfin Jr., goes on trial June 5.

The state Attorney General’s Office wanted the charge against Mr. Bradbery dismissed. Office spokesman J. Tucker Martin wouldn’t talk about the dismissal, citing the case against Mr. Woodfin.

Mr. Bradbery’s attorney, Murray Janus, said his client’s case was so similar to Mr. Caison’s that “the attorney general was wise enough to see he was facing the same result.”

Prosecutors retained the right to refile charges, but Mr. Janus said he’s been told they have no plans to do so.

Richmond Circuit Judge Beverly W. Snukals decided Mr. Caison’s case without hearing evidence from the defense. Judge Snukals found that prosecutors failed to show Mr. Caison knew he was breaking any rule or law in making purchases for the safari or other agency events aimed at winning favor with state legislators and administration officials.

Mr. Bradbery, Mr. Caison and Mr. Woodfin accompanied former game department board Chairman Daniel A. Hoffler on the safari.

The administration of then-Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, decided the trip could not be made at state expense. Mr. Hoffler paid the travel expenses for all three state officials, but they spent thousands on equipment that was used for the trip and later returned to the game department.

The department’s board of directors later reimbursed the state for more than the full cost of the equipment.

Mr. Woodfin resigned under pressure from the board on June 1, 2005. Mr. Bradbery and Mr. Caison retired the next year, after taking extended leave.

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