Politics & Government

No conflict of interest for Troy Kelley attorney

Federal prosecutors have dropped a demand for an inquiry into whether state Auditor Troy Kelley’s attorney has a conflict of interest in representing Kelley.

With that decision, announced in court Friday, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said he won’t pursue the issue.

Prosecutors accepted a statement by defense attorney Mark Bartlett that he has not given Kelley advice about more than $900,000 that Kelley paid Bartlett’s law firm as a retainer.

The money is at issue in prosecutors’ case against Kelley, which accuses him of keeping more than $1 million in stolen money and evading taxes. Kelley has maintained he is innocent of the charges.

Prosecutors say they will use the retainer payment as evidence. They had raised questions about whether Kelley would defend himself by claiming he made the payment on the advice of attorneys, which could create a conflict of interest if those same attorneys were to defend him. Bartlett said he and his firm gave no such advice.