Trial begins in federal corruption case against former state Sen. Jon Woods | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Trial begins in federal corruption case against former state Sen. Jon Woods

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 7:37 AM

click to enlarge KICKBACK KIDS: Federal corruption case begins for state Sen. Jon Woods (right), accused of participating in a kickback scheme. Former State Rep. Micah Neal (left) and Ecclesia College President Oren Parris III, his alleged co-conspirators, have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government. - ARKANSAS BUSINESS ILLUSTRATION.
  • Arkansas Business illustration.
  • KICKBACK KIDS: Federal corruption case begins for state Sen. Jon Woods (right), accused of participating in a kickback scheme. Former State Rep. Micah Neal (left) and Ecclesia College President Oren Parris III, his alleged co-conspirators, have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government.

Doug Thompson at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette continues to provide great coverage of the federal corruption case against former state Sen. Jon Woods.

The jury — six men and six women — was selected yesterday and opening statements began. The first witness will be called by the government today and the trial is expected to last three or four weeks. The witness list includes a who's who of Arkansas state politics, including the state treasurer, the state auditor, the state GOP chairman, and numerous current and former Republican lawmakers.

Federal prosecutors allege that Woods took kickbacks from state money he guided to Ecclesia College and a mental health agency. Two alleged co-conspirators, Oren Paris III, president of the college, and former state Rep. Micah Neal, have already pleaded guilty.
Also on trial is Randell Shelton Jr., a friend of Woods and Paris who allegedly participated in the scheme. Paris pleaded guilty less than a week before the trial began, suddenly flipping from co-defendant to cooperating with the government.

From Thompson's report from the courtroom, at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas:

“This case is about the betrayal of the people of Arkansas by this defendant, Jon Woods,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Elser said in his opening statement Tuesday afternoon. ...

Woods could do nothing as a state senator by himself, his defense attorney told jurors. Woods’ attorney Patrick Benca of Little Rock told the jury other colleges and universities hire lobbyists and consultants to draw millions in state grants. Every step of the improvement fund grant process is subject to either the approval of other lawmakers, the review of attorneys or regional board approval, Benca said in his opening statement.
Thompson also takes a very deep dive into the details of the case and the convoluted and colorful courtroom machinations leading up to the trial (for those interested, the version in the Northwest Arkansas edition is much longer than the story printed in this morning's D-G).



Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Authorities investigate accusation against Dean Elliott

    An accusation has been lodged against Dean Elliott, the Dillard's lobbyist and former state representative who is running for the District 15 seat in the state Senate, by a woman who claims that he was involved in a 2016 hit and run incident on Tennyson Drive in Conway that left her with severe injuries. Through a lawyer, Elliott says the allegation is false and politically motivated.
    • May 17, 2018
  • Rep. Jana Della Rosa disputes that Randell Shelton's Paradigm Consulting was a "bogus company"

    During the trial of former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton, the prosecution described Shelton's Paradigm Strategic Consulting as a "bogus company." But Rep. Jana Della Rosa, who paid Paradigm in 2014 for help with campaign messaging, said that Shelton did legitimate work for her.
    • May 16, 2018
  • A senator's vanity

    Spotted in Little Rock...
    • May 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Greenbrier's paddling of student protester goes worldwide

    The paddling of Greenbrier High School students who joined in te national school walkout Wednesday has produced headlines worldwide.
    • Mar 17, 2018
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation