The federal corruption trial of liberal State Auditor Troy Kelley starts today. The disgraced Democrat is accused of stealing $1.4 million. Charges include “possession of stolen property, money laundering, lying under oath and tax offenses in connection with the real-estate services firm he operated during the last decade’s housing bubble.”
In all, Kelley faces 17 indictments of criminal activity, the most serious of which carries a 20-year prison sentence. As the Seattle Times points out, Kelley is the first Washington state official to be indicted in 35 years. The Times,
“Kelley accumulated some $3.7 million by 2008, at least $1.4 million of which was fraudulently retained, the government alleges, and he shifted the money among various accounts including a sham trust in Belize in an effort to shield it from litigation.”
Kelley resumed his role as State Auditor in December after taking a seven-month leave of absence. Democrats from Jay Inslee to House Speaker Frank Chopp failed to push for Kelley’s resignation in a timely manner when the scandal first broke, ensuring that voters would not have the opportunity to select a new auditor last year.
Initially, the Democrat Party was content to let this scandal slide from public attention. Of course, that didn’t happen. Kelley had even filed to run for re-election this year. The top GOP challenger is State Senator Mark Miloscia.
Kelley has maintained his innocence, denied all charges and claimed the prosecution does not have a case. That may all change with the latest development in the case.
According to the Seattle Times, Kelley’s former employee, Jason JeRue, is scheduled to testify for the prosecution under a grant of immunity.
JeRue was Kelley’s longtime associate, presumably involved in the real-estate scam. Kelley went on to hire JeRue as a contract worker and paid him with taxpayer dollars – to work remotely from California – when he became State Auditor.
According to prosecutors, Kelley paid Jerue what could very well be called “hush money”, to the tune of nearly $20,000.
Kelley paid the sum “during a time when Jerue was being sought for questioning by lawyers representing Old Republic Title, which had sued Kelley for failing to refund reconveyance fees to its clients between 2005 and 2008.”
During the lawsuit, JeRue appeared to have dropped off the face of the earth. Court documents reveal that Jerue “could not be located and was never questioned in the lawsuit despite extraordinary efforts to find him.”
This time around, JeRue will have his day in court. Already, Kelley’s lawyers are jumping to discredit JeRue’s testimony. Sounds like Kelley’s getting a little nervous.
We wonder how the Democrat Auditor looks in an orange jumpsuit…