The wife of a jailed Spokane developer accused of fraud and theft doesn’t want jurors to learn that some of the allegedly stolen money was from the federal government’s controversial stimulus package.
The request to keep the source of the money from being disclosed to jurors was one of many on the table during a series of hearings in federal court Monday for Kimberly Jeffreys, her husband, Greg Jeffreys, and his girlfriend Shannon Stiltner.
All are facing federal charges for their alleged roles in what authorities say were schemes that bilked investors nationwide out of millions of dollars on various real estate and construction projects. The three, huddled around the same defense table but each represented by their own legal counsel, all pleaded not guilty Monday to additional charges filed by the federal government last month.
Charging documents link Kimberly and Greg Jeffreys to theft of government money in excess of $1.8 million. In a motion filed in federal court last week, Kimberly Jeffreys’ attorney argued it’s irrelevant that the money in question was part of the $7.2 billion stimulus package pushed by President Barack Obama. Investigators contend the Jeffreyses were able to complete construction of a Military Entrance Processing Station in Airway Heights for less than the amount of the federal stimulus grant and pocketed the rest to fuel further criminal activity.
Kimberly Jeffreys’ attorney, Allen Bentley, wrote that mention of the federal spending package could prejudice potential jurors against his client.
“There is no need to put this type of controversy-laden subject before a jury charged with the important task of deciding whether the prosecution’s evidence is sufficient,” Bentley wrote.
Stiltner and Greg Jeffreys additionally face charges that they continued to conspire, against a court order, while Jeffreys was in custody waiting for trial earlier this year. Defense attorneys would like to split those charges into two separate trials for each defendant, but the court has not yet ruled whether that will take place.
Greg Jeffreys remains in custody while Stiltner and Kimberly Jeffreys have posted bond and are free while awaiting trial.
Each faces a potential sentence of decades in prison and fines in the millions if convicted.