UPDATE: Judge rejects plea deal from ex-treasurer Martha Shoffner
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A federal judge has rejected a plea deal from former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner.
Shoffner actually entered a plea of guilty to accepting a bribe, admitting that she steered hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of state bonds to a single company after a representative from that organization began paying her $12,000 a year to cover rent of a Little Rock apartment. She refused, however, to admit that accepting that money affected her decisions as treasurer. Because of that, the judge refused to accept her plea deal.
When KATV caught her as she left the courthouse, she said, "There were just some questions asked that I had problems with. I am just so sorry this is happening. I want to tell the people of Arkansas I'm so sorry. I want to apologize."
The FBI arrested the 68-year-old Democrat at her Newport home on May 18 after prosecutors said she was recorded accepting a $6,000 payment from the broker stashed in a pie box, which she then reportedly hid in a cigarette box. Shoffner's attorney had initially said she planned to plead not guilty to the charges.
Because the plea deal was not accepted, the case now heads to trial. The U.S. attorney prosecuting the case said he plans to add more charges so Shoffner's decisions in court Friday could lead her to spend more time in jail later.
Shoffner, who was re-elected in 2010, resigned last week. Gov. Mike Beebe has named a former legislative auditor to fill the remainder of her term.