Helena District Judge DeeAnn Cooney has only been on the bench since Jan. 1, but already she’s presiding over one of the most high-profile political corruption cases the state has seen in decades.
On the other side is Bozeman Rep. Art Wittich, the former Republican Senate majority leader who Motl has accused in a lawsuit dating back to 2014 of violating state campaign laws by accepting illegal corporate campaign contributions, a charge Wittich vehemently denies.
Notable about Cooney’s role presiding over this case is the fact that both she and Motl were appointed to their current jobs by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, one Wittich’s chief political rivals.
Notable, too, is the fact that one month after appointing Cooney to the district court bench, Bullock appointed her husband, former Democratic Secretary of State Mike Cooney, to serve has his lieutenant governor.