3-day hearing clarifies case for and against Washington auditor

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The jury box was empty, but otherwise the three-day U.S. District Court hearing in the case of indicted Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley this week provided a dry run that offered the clearest look yet at the potential strengths and weaknesses of the Justice Department's case.

Investigators say Kelley, a 51-year-old Democrat who was elected auditor in 2012, kept about $3 million in fees he was supposed to refund to customers of his old real-estate services firm.

An FBI agent laid out the case in his testimony, saying that business documents and statements from former employees undermine Kelley's claim he was entitled to the money.

Kelley's lawyer, meanwhile, hammered away at questions about whether the FBI even knew who owned the money that Kelley supposedly stole, and whether homeowners had ever been promised a refund of the fees.

Kelley's trial is scheduled for March.