Cut and Dry Case for Juror in Shoffner Federal Trial

Cut and Dry Case for Juror in Shoffner Federal Trial

Deciding the fate of an elected official facing federal charges--That's what 12 Arkansans had to do and now one of them is speaking out.
Martha Shoffner
Martha Shoffner

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Former State Treasurer Martha Shoffner was found guilty on 14 counts of extortion and bribery, on Tuesday March 11th.

A juror in the trial broke her silence and is giving a look behind the closed doors of the Federal Courthouse sharing why she thinks Shoffner is guilty.

"We want to put our trust in our elected officials and hope that they're not doing something shady or underhanded like that," said this juror under condition of anonymity. "Obviously [Shoffner] was."

This juror conveys it was said in the deliberation room that it seemed like the defense just gave up halfway through the trial.

Shoffner's attorney rested their case without bringing a single witness to the stand. It was later that afternoon the jury told the judge they had reached a guilty verdict, only needing four hours.

"Within about 30 minutes we had about 11-1."

Before the trial she knew little of what the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas accused Shoffner of doing but, says it didn't take long to grasp the scope of things.

She says, "Especially when Steele Stephens got on the stand I really started forming opinions."

Stephens testified that he gave Shoffner $36,000 and received more than half a billion dollars in state bond trading business.

She says the jury could see a direct correlation between the two despite the defense insisting they weren't related.

"Every time he would give her cash there was either a spike in the amount of trades he had or the actual value of trades that he had," explained this juror.

Stephens testified that he paid Shoffner $6,000 every six months to avoid suspicion of monthly thousand dollar payments to help her with a living situation in Little Rock.

"I mean it's pretty cut and dry," said the juror. "The video is evidence enough."

For Stephens' last payment he delivered $6,000 in a pie box which was all recorded on hidden video camera for the FBI. The jury was shown the hour long video as evidence.

"When I saw her open that pie box and him basically trying to get her to acknowledge for the video that there was money in there," she added. "That was the kicker for me."

She says she still found it hard to convict an elected official on federal charges, especially when it took convincing one juror.

"So it was extremely stressful even though, especially in the end, we all felt like she was guilty."

Shoffner isn't done sitting in front of a jury. She has another federal trial where she faces ten more charges of mail fraud as she's accused of taking campaign funds for personal use.

That date was set for March 31 but court officials expect it will get moved to a later date.

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