- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas’ former treasurer asked a federal judge Monday to hold separate trials on charges that she took improper payments from a broker who did business with the state and accusations that she committed mail fraud while tapping money from a campaign account.

Separately, a judge said the government had adequately informed Martha Shoffner of the charges against her and rejected her request for additional documents from prosecutors.

Shoffner resigned last year after being accused of accepting more than $36,000 in cash from a bond broker to whom she steered state investments. She said in court the payments had no bearing on whom she selected to handle public money.

A subsequent indictment, filed last Thursday, listed 10 mail-fraud counts, accusing her of misspending $9,800 in campaign money. An arraignment on those charges was set for Feb. 27.

In a court filing Monday, Shoffner’s attorney, Chuck Banks, argued a separate trial should be held for the new charges because they were filed so close to her March 3 trial on the earlier charges. He called the timing of the new charges “disappointing and unreasonable.”

“No notice was given to Ms. Shoffner of the Second … Indictment nor was any customary opportunity afforded to her to accept or decline an invitation to explain her position to a United States grand jury,” Banks wrote.

“It unfairly expands the scope, length and specifics of this trial.”

He also said that by lumping a wide range of charges together, jurors could make inferences that if Shoffner misused campaign money she just also be guilty of the other charges, Banks wrote.

Shoffner had asked U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes to order prosecutors to give her more details about the evidence against her. Holmes said the indictment gave her a sufficient outline and that additional information she sought could also be available from a third party, not the government.

The judge also said he wouldn’t order prosecutors to transcribe the audiotape of a conversation between a treasurer’s office worker and a broker used as a confidential government source. He suggested she ask the people on the tape, if she knows who they are.

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