On October 1, 2012, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent a letter to the Clerk of Court for Flathead County, Montana requesting the release of the pre-sentencing investigation report (PSI) in the criminal case State of Montana v. Barkus. In August 2009, a motor boat driven by then-Montana State Sen. Gregory Barkus, and carrying U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), two aides to Rep. Rehberg, and Sen. Barkus’ wife, slammed into rocks on the shore of Flathead Lake, causing serious injuries. One of the aides, Dustin Frost, was in a coma for over a week as a result of the crash.
The PSI submitted by the State of Montana and relied on by the court in sentencing Sen. Barkus is not publicly available, leaving only a sentencing memorandum submitted by Sen. Barkus to describe the accident. As a result, the public has only a one-sided view of the circumstances of the crash, including the role Rep. Rehberg may have played and his version of the facts. Sen. Barkus blamed the crash on a faulty GPS, but the judge ignored that argument and, apparently relying on the information contained in the PSI, ordered a more severe sentence than that recommended by the county attorney.