FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Lawyers and a federal judge met behind closed doors to discuss whether certain documents should be off-limits to prosecutors at the upcoming public corruption trial of a former Arkansas state senator and two other men.
Attorney W.H. Taylor formerly represented ex-Sen. Jon Woods, who is accused of taking part in a kickback scheme. At the same time, Taylor represented an FBI investigator in a civil matter.
According to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , previously released records show that Taylor encouraged Woods to make a statement that the government now intends to use as evidence. The statement has not been made public, as is the case with much of the other evidence. Woods said the statement should be protected by attorney-client privilege and that prosecutors should be barred from referring to it.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks met with parties in the case Wednesday after clearing the courtroom.
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Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and consultant Randell Shelton Jr. are set for trial April 9. The three men have pleaded not guilty. Another ex-lawmaker pleaded guilty to a related charge last January.
Taylor, his FBI investigator client, Bob Cessario, and former interim U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser each met with Brooks and the lawyers Wednesday. According to online court records, Brooks intends to issue a written ruling at a later date.
Woods is accused of accepting kickbacks in return for directing state General Improvement Fund grants to the college. The indictment said the kickbacks were made through Shelton’s consulting firm. In a separate case, the state Supreme Court has ruled the General Improvement Fund unconstitutional.
Information from: Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.nwaonline.com