State Auditor Troy Kelley is asking a federal judge to acquit him on the remaining 14 counts pending after a hung jury last month, with his attorney arguing “no rational juror” could convict him on the evidence presented at trial.
Attorneys for State Auditor Troy Kelley have asked a federal judge to acquit their client on the charges remaining from the government’s so-far unsuccessful effort to convict him of theft, money laundering and tax evasion.
Ajury late last month acquitted Kelley of one charge and announced they were deadlocked on 14 other federal felony counts alleging Kelley stole millions by keeping fees that should have been returned to the clients of his now-defunct real-estate reconveyance business.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not said whether it intends to retry Kelley. Defense attorney Angelo Calfo has said he has not heard from federal prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton has set a hearing for Tuesday to set a new trial date.
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The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the defense motions.
Calfo filed a pair of motions and supporting documents — mostly transcripts of testimony from the six-week trial — and urged Leighton to conclude that the government produced insufficient evidence to sustain any conviction.
“No rational juror could have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Kelley took any property over which anyone other than himself had established ownership interest,” Calfo wrote in asking the judge to dismiss the linchpin charge of possession of stolen property.
Kelley had faced up to 20 years in prison on the charges that alleged he stole upward of $3 million from homebuyers by failing to make refunds to clients of his company, Post Closing Department.
Interviews with jurors after the verdict indicated the panel was deeply divided, but with a majority — as one-sided as 10-to-2 at one point — leaning toward acquittal on the theft count.
Without a conviction on that charge, the government’s case alleging money laundering comes undone.
Calfo’s second motion seeks dismissal of the tax charges, based partly on the fact that the jury acquitted Kelley of making a false statement to the IRS about his income during the years his company was operating and right after it closed, about 2002 through 2012.
In a complex trial with more than 100 witnesses and tens of thousands of pages of exhibits, the defense hammered every inconsistency in the government’s case. And there were some large ones: Post Closing Department was not the only reconveyance firm that failed to refund unspent fees — indeed, it was a common practice in the industry and led to dozens of lawsuits, almost all of which were dismissed.
Kelley, a Democrat, is the first state official to face criminal indictment in nearly 40 years. Even before the verdict, he had said he would not seek re-election.
He took a seven-month leave of absence after his indictment but returned to work amid the objections of Gov. Jay Inslee and other state officials who have called for his resignation.
Kelley returned to work at the auditor’s office the day after the trial, despite ongoing calls for his resignation. Among his first actions was to fire former chief of staff Doug Cochran and office spokesman Adam Wilson.