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Troy Kelley's Lawyer To Remain On Case, No Evidence Of Conflict

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Attorney Mark Bartlett, right, will remain as Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley's attorney after a federal judge was unconvinced Bartlett's role in the case presents a conflict of interest.

Indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley will get to keep his lawyer after a federal judge Friday found no obvious conflict of interest that would preclude Mark Bartlett from staying on the case.

Federal prosecutors had suggested there was a conflict of interest because Kelley paid Bartlett’s firm a $900,000 retainer fee from an account that held alleged ill-gotten gains. Kelley also pre-paid nearly $450,000 in taxes out of that business account.

Prosecutors said if Kelley made those payments on advice of his lawyers then Bartlett could end up being called as a witness at trial or Kelley could invoke an “advice-of-counsel” defense.

Bartlett, in a court filing, said that won’t happen and that he “never provided any such advice.” The judge in the case said he saw no reason to delve any deeper into a potential conflict of interest. Prosecutors said they agreed.

Kelley has pleaded not guilty to possession of stolen property and other charges related to his past real estate services business. His trial is set for January of next year.

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."