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Krone asks judge to suppress evidence against him in case

Sam Krone Sam Krone

Former state lawmaker and Cody attorney Sam Krone — charged with stealing some $9,600 from a local lawyers’ association —  is asking a judge to suppress some of the evidence against him.

In a motion filed by one of his defense attorneys last month, Krone argues that a different judge should not have allowed agents from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation to look at the Park County Bar Association’s bank records.

DCI used those records to identify a series of checks that Krone — who controlled the association’s account — allegedly wrote to himself between March 2010 and October 2013; Krone wrote on most of the $9,633.71 worth of checks that they were “reimbursements” for various association expenses, but authorities allege he was actually pocketing the money.

Krone has said that he’ll be exonerated and has pleaded not guilty in the case. A trial is tentatively set to start Aug. 14 and take four and a half days.

He was charged with the three felony and four misdemeanor counts of larceny and theft last July, a few weeks before the Republican primary election (where he was handily defeated in the House District 24 race by Scott Court of Cody).

Krone’s actions as treasurer came under scrutiny after he reportedly did not respond to then-Park County Bar Association President Andrea Earhart’s requests for a treasurer’s report. Earhart went to authorities in April 2016 after she got a bank statement that showed the association had only $88.90 in its account — far less than the $2,000-$3,000 Krone had told her was there, charging documents allege. DCI Special Agent Brady Patrick shared that information with District Court Judge Norman Young of Lander and got a warrant for the bar association’s bank records on April 29, 2016; Krone now argues that DCI didn’t have enough evidence for the warrant.

One of his defense attorneys, Vaughn Neubauer of Laramie, filed a motion to suppress the evidence from the warrant — starting with the seized bank records — on May 18. Neubauer argues that the search of the association’s bank accounts at Wells Fargo Bank violated Krone’s civil rights; specifically, the defense takes issue with the fact that DCI was allowed to look at three accounts controlled by the bar association (two named the Park County Law Library and another called the Greater Law Institute).

In seeking a search warrant for the records, DCI Special Agent Brady Patrick “lumps the entities together in his request, but the affidavit doesn’t show a connection to the defendant [Krone] to those accounts or that he held a position of authority with those accounts,” Neubauer wrote.

However, Philip Donoho of the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office — which is prosecuting the case — says the DCI agent’s affidavit clearly specified that the association owned all of the accounts and that Krone controlled them all.

Beyond that, “bank depositors have no reasonable expectation of privacy in and thus no Fourth Amendment interest implicated by banking records and cannot, therefore, challenge the government’s seizure of such records,” Donoho wrote, citing U.S. and Wyoming Supreme Court precedent. Further, since the records seized were actually the bar association’s and not Krone’s personal accounts, Donoho said Krone lacks the standing to object to the search warrant.

Representatives from the Attorney General’s Office and Krone’s defense attorneys are scheduled to make those arguments before presiding District Court Judge Marvin Tyler of Pinedale on July 11.

The prosecutors from the AG’s office say they also plan to ask Judge Tyler whether they can introduce evidence showing that Krone struggled with his finances during the years in question — including borrowing money from friends that he has yet to pay back — and thus could have had a motive for stealing the money. The AG’s office says it intends to call several of the people Krone worked with during his tenure as a deputy Park County attorney — including District Court Judge Steven Cranfill and a couple of former deputy attorneys. Because of their prior relationships with Krone, Cranfill and the Park County Attorney’s Office have had nothing to do with the criminal case against him.

The AG’s office says it also wants to put on testimony about Krone’s background in finance and an analysis of “the Park County Bar Association accounts and [his] personal and campaign finance accounts” to show that the alleged misuse of the association’s money was not a mistake.

Krone was fired from his job as a deputy Park County prosecutor in March 2016 — a month before Earhart went to DCI — over demeaning and taunting text messages he sent to a long-time acquaintance who was being prosecuted for driving while under the influence of alcohol.

The Wyoming Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Krone’s ability to practice law last August.

1 comment

  • posted by Jimmy

    June 13, 2017 10:32 am

    Suppress the TRUTH. sad

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