Judge: Court won’t pay for Shoffner’s lawyer

LITTLE ROCK — A federal judge on Friday rejected a request by former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner to declare one of her attorneys a court-appointed attorney and begin paying him.

Shoffner said in a filing last month that she had exhausted her financial resources. She asked U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes to name one of her private attorneys, Grant Ballard, a court-appointed attorney for her defense and said her other attorney, Chuck Banks, would continue to represent her but would not seek compensation from the court.

In his order Friday denying the request, Holmes said, “It is not the practice of the court to appoint retained counsel after the client’s funds are exhausted. … Furthermore, it is not the practice of the court to appoint counsel to assist retained counsel, nor is this a case in which the court likely would appoint two lawyers to represent Shoffner if she did not have retained counsel and if she qualified for appointed counsel.”

A federal jury found the former Democratic treasurer guilty of of six counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion and seven counts of receipt of bribery last month. She is scheduled to stand trial Dec. 1 on an additional 10 federal charges of mail fraud.

Shoffner also is seeking to have her conviction thrown out, arguing that the government did not show that she violated federal law.