Barnes lawyer asks to stand down | News
Stephanie Barnes’ attorney asked to step down from the case because she was unable to pay him, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Barnes, 62, is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, pending sentencing, which is currently scheduled for May 19.
Barnes faces up to eight years in prison after a jury convicted her on December 23 of three crimes, conspiracy to commit theft in programs receiving government funds, conversion or theft of government property and production of a false tax return.
Defense attorney Martial Webster filed a motion Jan. 5, asking for an additional 45 days to file a motion under Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 29 allows the defense to seek an acquittal, arguing that the evidence presented by prosecutors was not sufficient to warrant a conviction.
On Friday, Webster filed a motion to be removed as Barnes’ attorney.
Barnes did not “substantially” pay for her services to represent her at trial, and she informed Webster on February 25 that she could not afford to pay for her services or the trial transcripts necessary for Webster “to effectively prepare the Respondent’s Rule 29 motion”. he wrote. Barnes said she has been unemployed since 2018.
Webster requested that Barnes be given 30 days to find a new attorney or have an attorney appointed by the court.
Barnes was found guilty of conspiracy with Violet Anne Golden, the former chairwoman of the VI Casino Control Commission, who testified against Barnes at trial after serving her own prison sentence.
The women conspired between 2015 and 2018 to steal hundreds of thousands of public funds which they spent on luxury travel, jewelry, clothing, alcohol, college tuition, car repairs and other personal expenses unrelated to government business .
Barnes took the stand in his own defense but failed to persuade jurors of his innocence. She has been imprisoned since December 27.