The estranged husband of Rep. Enid Waldholtz, R-Utah, bought time Wednesday to explore the possibility of cutting a deal with federal prosecutors investigating alleged financial improprieties by the couple, sources close to the case said.
During a brief hearing in U.S. District Court, Joseph P. Waldholtz, 32, delayed a decision on whether to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before a grand jury probing the case. By putting off the determination, the sources said, Waldholtz sent a message to prosecutors that he might be willing to cooperate and provide them with information about his wife’s role in their financial dealings.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan scheduled another hearing for Dec. 15. Investigators will proceed with an expanded probe into the Waldholtzes’ finances, including a $1.8 million contribution that Enid Waldholtz used in her successful congressional campaign last year. The probe is also focusing on an alleged $1.5 million check-kiting scheme undertaken by Joseph Waldholtz.
Prosecutors will have to determine whether the information he might offer is credible before they seriously consider negotiating a deal with him, sources said. So far, no substantive discussions have taken place.
“By (Dec. 15) we will know what we have and we will know what we are willing to give in exchange for what Joe asks for,” said one law enforcement source who requested anonymity. “But everything could fall apart, too.”
Moments before Joseph Waldholtz appeared in court Wednesday, a private investigator intercepted him on the first floor of the courthouse and served him with divorce papers filed by his wife last week. Waldholtz looked dejected as he sat in the courtroom perusing the document while waiting for the hearing to begin.
As he left the building, Waldholtz, hemmed in by a crush of journalists, made his first public statement since he surrendered to FBI agents Friday after being sought on a material witness arrest warrant. “I would just like to say that I love my wife and daughter very, very much,” he said.
Click here to comment on this story »