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Federal judge acquits State Sen. Katrina Robinson of majority of charges

Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 8:18 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A federal judge has acquitted Tennessee State Sen. Katrina Robinson of more than a dozen criminal charges, but several remain.

Sunday evening, Judge Sheryl Lipman acquitted Robinson of 15 of the 20 counts in her fraud and embezzlement case. The judge denied motions to acquit the state lawmaker on the remaining five counts.

The court will issue an oral ruling in court Monday and the jury will return to court Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Robinson is accused of spending $600,000 in federal grant money intended for her nursing school, The Healthcare Institute (THI) on personal expenses.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday after calling dozens of witnesses to the stand over the last two weeks.

Jurors were dismissed early, while attorneys stayed behind with Judge Sheryl Lipman to hear arguments on a defense motion to dismiss the case.

Defense attorneys argued the evidence the government presented to the jury is too weak to find Robinson guilty.

Before prosecutors rested their case, Thursday, jurors heard from the government’s final witness, Jonathan Nyaku, who was an outsourced accountant for THI for three years.

Nyaku said he helped Robinson manage federal grant money as well as provided accounting and tax services.

He testified during his time working with Robinson he noticed two line-items he told Robinson had to be classified under personal expenses. Those items were a payment for a snow cone business for her children and another for a personal property.

During cross examination, the defense said the accountant refused to speak with Robinson’s lawyers before the trial unless he was paid.

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