Defense accuses state of ‘selective prosecution’ in wind energy fraud case
The fight over Charles Malouff’s fate continued Monday outside the presence of jurors, with attorneys arguing over the gathering and sharing of evidence in the case of a failed wind energy project in Jonestown.
Defense attorneys Jackie Wood and Tamara Needles hammered at the prosecutors with a 15-page motion to suppress evidence and dismiss the case against Malouff, who is accused of falsifying documents to obtain a $2 million federal stimulus grant for wind turbines. Among other things, his lawyers claim the Travis County District Attorney’s Office acted in bad faith by failing to hand over spreadsheets detailing the finances of Malouff and his companies.
District Judge Karen Sage denied the request and ordered everyone, including jurors, to return on Wednesday. But she left one opening for the defense: If Malouff is convicted of fraud charges, the judge would be willing to hear the defense attorneys’ motion for a new trial on the grounds that prosecutors engaged in “selective prosecution.”
Wood suggested that one key prosecution witness, Deputy Toby Miller, “double dipped” by claiming hours at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office while he was working at Malouff’s company, CM Energies. She noted that prosecutors did not bring charges against Miller. Prosecutors acknowledged the double-dipping claim but said they had looked into his background and had not found a problem.
“I’m appalled that anything Toby Miller said is being considered,” Wood said.
The defense also claimed prosecutors overlooked possible misdeeds by others at CM Energies, including staff attorney Michael Guevara, who signed the grant application, and Malouff’s daughter Dana Malouff McCoy, who testified she served as president in title only while her father ran the company.
Monday was the third consecutive day that jurors did not hear testimony.
Defense attorneys asked for a week delay while they review newly discovered spreadsheets of Malouff’s bank accounts prepared by former county accountant Robin Timmins, but Sage granted only two extra days.
On Wednesday, jurors will hear from Timmins — who followed the money trail — and lead investigator Lori Carter.