Jim Hayes appeal continues

Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009

FAIRBANKS - An attorney for Jim Hayes says testimony from the wife of the former Fairbanks mayor could have shown he was innocent of stealing federal grant money.

Anchorage attorney John Murtagh said in court papers filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week that a district judge denied Hayes of a fundamental right to defend himself last spring by failing to reschedule his trial.

Murtagh has said Hayes' wife, Murilda "Chris" Hayes, should have been allowed to testify at the former mayor's trial last year.

Jim Hayes was convicted of playing a central role in illegally funneling social service grants between the family's South Fairbanks nonprofit tutoring center and the church he served as pastor. A new church was built partly with money from the earmark-funded tutoring center.

Chris Hayes previously pleaded guilty in the case.

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