Fairley seeks acquittal or new trial

Fairley seeks acquittal or new trial
Rev. Kenneth Fairley was convicted of three counts of defrauding the government and is now seeking an appeal against his sentencing and conviction. Source: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Legal counsel for Hub City pastor Kenneth Fairley have filed a motion for acquittal or a new trial.

Fairley, 62, was convicted on Sept. 12, 2016 of carrying out a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was convicted on two counts of theft of government funds and one count of conspiracy to defraud (HUD) pertaining to money that was received through grants from the city of Hattiesburg.

The motions were filed Monday in federal court by Fairley's legal counsel, Sanford E. Knott and Arnold A. Spencer.

The motions reference audio recordings that were made by co-defendant Artie Fletcher, which were submitted into evidence and played during testimony.

"Specifically, the defendant objected that the out-of-court statements were recordings that were made by the alleged co-conspirator (Fletcher) and were neither in the course of the conspiracy, nor in furtherance of the conspiracy," according to the motion.

The motion details that the court should grant Fairley a new trial due to the recordings, which were made in Dec. 2012.

"This court should grand Mr. Fairley a new trial because these recordings and the lawsuit should not have been admitted into evidence, as the recordings are idle conversation with an occasional reference to transactions completed 18 months earlier, and the lawsuit filed by Mr. Fletcher against Mr. Fairley," according to the motion.

Spencer and Knott detail in the motion that Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Bradley Luker should not have been allowed to testify about the recorded conversations, stating that it was subject to hearsay.

Fairley was taken into custody after his conviction; he was released the next day on a $25,000 unsecured bond. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19th at 2 p.m. and faces up to 25 years in prison.

Fletcher, 56, pleaded guilty Sept. 2, 2016 in federal court to one count of misprision of a felony. His charge was explained as concealing a federal felony from authorities, knowing a felony was committed, failing to report the crime to authorities and committing some affirmative act to conceal the crime. The maximum sentence for Fletcher's charge is three years in prison and a $250,000 fine with one year of special release and $100 special assessment. He is set to be sentenced Dec. 19th at 2 p.m. and faces up to three years in prison with one year post-release supervision.

As of Wednesday, District Judge Keith Starrett has not entered a ruling on the motion.