Judge Rules Martha Shoffner Corruption Conviction Will Stand

by Christina Huynh, The Associated Press  on Tuesday, Apr. 15, 2014 5:05 pm  

Martha Shoffner (Photo by AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

"The evidence established that this disproportionate share of the state's investment business was given to Stephens at Shoffner's direction, over her staff's objection," Holmes wrote.

The judge also said Shoffner gave Stephens details about the entire state's portfolio, including investment maturity dates, giving him an advantage over other brokers who didn't have the same information.

Holmes noted that Shoffner changed the way her office did business after Stephens gave her money in $6,000 increments - at times in a pie box - to help her pay the rent on a Little Rock apartment.

"The jury could reasonably conclude that the favoritism showed to Stephens by Shoffner resulted from his payments to her," the judge wrote. He wrote further that some of the charges against Shoffner required only that she obtained payments to which she was not entitled - not a broad influence on interstate commerce.

"Shoffner's 'official right' gave her leverage over a substantial amount of interstate commerce. She used that 'official right' to obtain payments from Stephens to which she was not entitled," Holmes wrote.

Prosecutors argued during Shoffner's trial that Arkansas bonds were traded across state lines and included some federal grant money.

Shoffner also faces 10 counts of mail fraud after prosecutors accused her of misspending campaign funds on personal items.

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