Those tracking the case against former Sen. Alvin Williams will have to wait a little longer to see how it all turns out. While Williams isn’t scheduled to be sentenced until the end of July, his former chief of staff, Kim Blackett, also won’t appear in court again for another couple of weeks.
Blackett was scheduled to be sentenced on June 20, but the hearing was continued to Thursday. The switch in schedule was problematic for Blackett’s defense attorney, Gabriel J. Villegas, however, who had already taken leave until July 5, according to court documents.
Meeting briefly in District Court on Thursday, Blackett’s legal team said a motion to continue the sentencing had been filed to allow Villegas to be there. The motion was granted by District Court Judge Curtis Gomez after prosecuting attorney Kelly Lake said she had no objections.
No final sentencing date was set on Thursday.
Williams and two of his staffers – Blackett and Garry Sprauve – were arrested last November after being indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of territorial corruption, fraud and racketeering charges. After initially pleading not guilty, Williams himself filed a change of plea request in January, asking the court to let him plead guilty to one federal racketeering charge, which has him facing up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000.
Sprauve and Blackett followed suit in March. According to their plea agreements, Sprauve would be pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to fraudulent claims upon the government for helping Williams solicit a bribe of $10,000 in the form of campaign contributions from the developers of the Tutu Park Mall wind power generating project.
In exchange for pleading guilty, Sprauve faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. He has waived his right to a trial and an appeal. Sprauve was also scheduled to be sentenced on June 20 – but the date was moved based on the schedule of his attorney, Dave Cattie, who had another trial scheduled around the same time.
In the original indictment, Blackett was charged with two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses for time she spent on the job doing Williams’ work for the University of Phoenix, from which he was seeking online degrees. Prosecuting attorneys said that Blackett was getting paid under false pretenses and defrauded the government by using legislative and public funds for doing nonlegislative work.
Blackett’s deal has her pleading guilty to one count, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $500 fine.