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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Troy Kelley Scheduled To Be Back In Court, Feds Could Signal Plans

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
File photo. Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley will be back in court on Tuesday.

Last month, a federal jury acquitted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley of lying to IRS agents, but deadlocked on 14 other charges related to his past real estate services business. Kelley will be back in court on Tuesday when a hearing could provide an answer to what happens next in the case.

So far, federal prosecutors have not said whether they will dismiss what’s left of the case against the first-term Democrat, or seek to re-try him on some or all of the remaining charges. Meanwhile, the defense has asked the court to acquit Kelley on all remaining counts based on “the insufficiency of the evidence.”

According to the jury foreman, the majority of jurors would have voted to acquit Kelley of count one -- possession of stolen funds. On the other hand, the foreman said he personally was inclined to find Kelley guilty of tax-related crimes.

The charges stem from Kelley’s work in the real estate services industry during the pre-recession housing bubble. Prosecutors accused Kelley of amassing more than $3 million in homeowner fees that should have been refunded and then trying to hide the money and avoid paying taxes on it.

In his motion for acquittal, Kelley defense attorney Angelo Calfo said homeowners willingly paid the fees to Kelley’s company, the Post Closing Department. “He therefore could not have stolen it,” Calfo wrote.

In a separate filing with the court, Calfo argued that re-trying Kelley on the tax-related charges would amount to double jeopardy because the jury already found Kelley did not lie to IRS agents when asked about his tax treatment of the funds.

Since the end of the trial, Kelley has returned to work as state auditor and made headlines for asking a couple of top staffers to resign. He is not, however, running for re-election.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."