Update: Martha Shoffner to Start Trial Tuesday on 14 Corruption Counts

by Chuck Bartels, The Associated Press  on Monday, Mar. 3, 2014 5:50 am  

Martha Shoffner (file photo) (Photo by AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

"The court will rule on Shoffner's arguments regarding the sufficiency of the evidence at the proper time, but that time has not yet come," Holmes wrote. "The indictment fairly informs Shoffner of the charges against which she must defend."

Shoffner faces six counts of extortion under color of official right and one attempted extortion charge for each of the payments the FBI says Shoffner accepted. Those charges carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The seven bribery charges cover all of the payments Shoffner received, plus the $6,000 payment the FBI said she accepted on tape in May. The bribery charges carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

A Democrat, Shoffner was a state representative from 1996-2002. She was elected treasurer in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.

She resigned after Gov. Mike Beebe, a fellow Democrat, called for her to leave office and legislators threatened to impeach her. She apologized to the people of Arkansas. Beebe appointed former Legislative Auditor Charles Robinson to serve the remainder of Shoffner's term, which concludes in January.

In 2012, Shoffner drew scrutiny from legislators over premature sales of bonds, which auditors said caused the state to miss out on $434,000 in earnings the bonds would have generated at maturity.

The mail fraud charges allege Shoffner misused $9,800 from a campaign account.

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