HATTIESBURG, Miss. — An assistant U.S. attorney has filed a response in opposition to a Hattiesburg pastor’s request for an acquittal on two counts of theft of government funds and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government.
The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/2dO25zy) the response, which was filed Tuesday by Jay Golden on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s office, states Rev. Kenneth Fairley’s arguments for acquittal are the same ones tried unsuccessfully by his counsel during trial.
“(The arguments) are even less compelling now, because they would require the Court to evaluate the weight of the evidence, to draw its own inferences and to make its own witness credibility judgments, all in favor of the defendant, in order for the defendant’s motion to prevail,” the response states. “It is well settled, however, that courts must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the Government in post-trial review.
“Accordingly, the defendant’s motion should be denied. The evidence at trial was more than sufficient to support the jury’s verdict.”
A jury found Fairley guilty Sept. 12 of the three counts, which involved money received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through grants administered by Hattiesburg.
Sanford Knott, a Jackson-based attorney, and Arnold Spencer, an attorney from Fort Worth, Texas, filed the motions for acquittal Sept. 26.
Spencer wrote in the motion he objected to the introduction of conversations recorded without Fairley’s knowledge by Artie Fletcher, who was indicted with Fairley in March on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and theft of government funds, because Fletcher was not available for cross examination.
Fletcher, 55, of Picayune, pleaded guilty Sept. 2 in federal court to misprision of felony. His sentencing is set for Dec. 19.
Fairley, 62, pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, was taken into custody following his conviction, but was released until sentencing on an unsecured $25,000 bond, which means he will pay nothing unless he violates terms of release.
His sentencing is set for Dec. 23.
Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com