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Crime, Law and Justice
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 Wins, Loses Motions Before Federal Judge

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Washington Legislature
Former Washington State Auditor Kelley was convicted of nine felonies at the conclusion of his second trial last December.

Former Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley Tuesday lost a motion to have his conviction for possession of stolen funds tossed out. But a federal judge in Tacoma did grant two of Kelley’s other motions.

Troy Kelley was convicted of illegally pocketing more than $1 million in fees paid by escrow customers. This was back before he was elected when he ran a small real estate services company.

Kelley’s lawyer argued there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton denied that motion for acquittal. He also denied a motion to overturn Kelley’s conviction for making false declarations in a civil deposition.

However, Leighton agreed to dismiss Kelley’s conviction for tax obstruction. Prosecutors had agreed that conviction could not stand based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that changed the threshold for convicting someone of corrupt interference in an Internal Revenue Service tax case.

Leighton also granted a defense motion that he review some privileged communications between an escrow company and its private law firm. The defense believes those documents might shed light on the authenticity of a spreadsheet that became a crucial piece of evidence in Kelley’s trial. Leighton will conduct that review in his chambers and then decide if Kelley should get a new trial.

Kelley was convicted last December at the conclusion of his second trial of nine felonies, including possession of stolen funds. He was acquitted on five counts of money laundering.

Kelley’s first trial in 2016 ended with the jury finding him not guilty of making false statements to the IRS and deadlocking on the remaining counts.

Kelley left office in January 2017 after not seeking re-election. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal district court in Tacoma on June 29.