Shoffner asks for separate trial on new charges


LITTLE ROCK — Former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner asked a federal judge Monday for a separate trial on 10 counts of mail fraud that were filed against her last week.

“While mail fraud is a federal crime, it unfairly expands the scope, length and specifics of this trial,” Shoffner’s attorney Chuck Banks argued in a filing. “It adds a new element for the jury to consider of other alleged bad acts. It also opens the door for the government to make allegations that are uncharged of additional bad acts.”

Shoffner, 69, is scheduled for trial on March 3 on 14 counts of extortion and bribery for allegedly accepting cash payments from a broker to whom she allegedly steered state investments.

Last week, the U.S. attorney’s office added 10 counts of mail fraud, alleging she misspent $9,800 in campaign money. A hearing on those charges is schedule for Feb. 27.

Shoffner resigned May 21. She had been under investigation or more than a year because of suspected bond transactions in her office when federal authorities took her into custody at her Newport home May 18 after an informant delivered a $6,000 cash payment in a pie box.

Shoffner was originally indicted on charges that she accepted more than $36,000 cash from a bond broker to whom she steered state investments. She has pleaded not guilty in that case.