Troy Downing

Troy Downing

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Troy Downing’s trial for hunting violations has been pushed back till July 25, about a month after the state’s primary election.

Downing was originally scheduled to stand trial May 23, just two weeks before the state’s primary election. He faces several misdemeanors accusing him of trying to buy Montana resident hunting or fishing licenses as an out-of-state resident. Downing’s attorney, Christopher Williams, requested to delay the three-day trial because of Downing’s run for the U.S. Senate seat.

“In light of the pending June 5 election date, it will be a hardship for Mr. Downing to prepare for both the trial and the election in this time frame,” Williams stated in his motion to continue the jury trial.

Gallatin County Justice of the Peace Bryan Adams approved the request Thursday. Prosecutors didn’t oppose delaying the trial.

Downing is facing seven misdemeanors for unlawful purchase of or applying for a resident license by a nonresident. The citations accuse him of illegally buying licenses in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Downing pleaded not guilty to the charges Aug. 23.

Downing has asked Adams to dismiss several charges alleging he was not a Montana resident when he bought resident hunting licenses, claiming past accountants made errors in his tax filings. Adams has not ruled on the motion.

Downing has not filed motions to dismiss other charges, including transferring a hunting license to another person and assisting an unqualified applicant in obtaining a hunting license.

The citation for transferring a license accuses him of loaning a 2011 Montana elk license to another for killing a bull elk. And the citation for assisting an unqualified applicant accuses him of helping his nonresident son obtain Montana resident conservation, deer and elk licenses in 2015.

According to a Fish, Wildlife and Parks search warrant application, the investigation into Downing’s residency began in 2013 when the Montana Department of Revenue asked FWP to look into whether Downing met residency requirements for Montana hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. The revenue department said it believed Downing had illegally purchased resident licenses.

The Chronicle also confirmed with the San Diego assessor’s office that Downing had been receiving a tax exemption for a home he owns in Fallbrook, California, about 60 miles north of San Diego. Downing has received the exemption since 2005, which is for homeowners if the home is their primary residence.

Downing is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in 2018 along with State Auditor Matt Rosendale, state Sen. Albert Olszewski of Kalispell and former Billings judge Russell Fagg.

Freddy Monares can be reached at 406-582-2630, or by email at fmonares@dailychronicle.com.

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Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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