Chuck Banks, attorney for Martha Shoffner, today speedily supported a motion by the U.S. attorney to dismiss 10 charges remaining against the former Arkansas treasurer. Not long after, Judge Leon Holmes dismissed the charges and ordered a pre-sentencing report by the federal probation office.
Earlier, Banks filed a motion that said:
Defendant Martha Shoffner welcomes and is grateful for the United States Attorney’s decision to dismiss Counts 15-24. Ms. Shoffner also welcomes the beginning of the process resulting in this Court setting a final sentencing hearing date.
Counsel for Shoffner asks the Court to grant this motion. Further, that any objections to the United States’ presentation of evidence at sentencing will be reserved until that time.
Shoffner has been convicted of 14 counts related to taking bribes from Steele Stephens, a securities salesman who did millions in business with the treasurer. A plea deal on 10 remaining charges that she used campaign money for personal expenses fell apart and was set for trial. But the government yesterday asked that the charges be dismissed. It cited sentencing she already faces and an an intention to raise the other activities as an element of her sentence.
Banks will object to use of the pending charges in sentencing. The plea deal fell apart because Shoffner wouldn’t agree with one element of the crime — that she planned in campaign fund-raising a scheme to use the money for personal expenses. She was prepared to admit the money had been used that way, but not that that was her intention from the outset.
Banks said he hoped sentencing could take place in February. She faces up to 20 years on each count, but Banks has calculated the federal sentencing guidelines could indicate a sentence in the range of five years.