Shoffner says she’s out of money

LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner on Tuesday asked a federal judge for a court-appointed attorney, saying in a court filing that she has exhausted her financial resources.

A jury found Shoffner guilty of of six counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion and seven counts of receipt of bribery on March 11, at the conclusion of a five-day trial in U.S. District Court in Little Rock. She faces an additional 10 federal charges of mail fraud, on which she is to be tried separately.

In her filing Tuesday, Shoffner asked that U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes appoint Grant Ballard to continue representing her, but at the government’s expense. Ballard is one of two private attorneys Shoffner hired to represent her in her extortion and bribery trial.

“Ms. Shoffner’s legal fees and costs to date have exhausted her financial resources. Shoffner has not been successful in her attempts to borrow or secure sufficient funds for her legal defense from family, friends or other financial credit sources,” her other attorney, Charles Banks, said in Tuesday’s court filing. “She is now without sufficient assets to pay reasonable and necessary fees and costs for her defense from now through the upcoming trial to jury verdict.”

Banks wrote that he would continue to represent Shoffner but would not seek compensation from the government.

Federal prosecutors said during Shoffner’s trial this month that she accepted cash bribes from broker Steele Stephens and that in return she steered a disproportionate share of the state’s investment business to Stephens, who was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his cooperation with the government. Shoffner has been allowed to remain free pending a sentencing hearing.

The mail fraud charges are related to allegations that Shoffner used campaign contributions to make payments on a personal credit card.

The former Democratic treasurer resigned May 21, three days after FBI agents arrested her at her home in Newport.