Stanley James is accused of embezzlement. Tuesday, the court heard opening arguments, as well as testimony from state's witnesses. The prosecution started its case Tuesday, focusing on how James handled county money while he was sheriff. The state accuses James of taking a nearly $2700 check made out to the Washington County jail and using the money to make unauthorized purchases for the sheriff's department. The prosecution also claims James accessed the money after depositing it in the Washington County Law Enforcement Association's account, and that James did not tell any county official about it.
The check was made out to then Washington County Chief Jailer, John Wrighton. He's also indicted in connection with the case. Today, Wrighton testified James asked him to endorse the check, so he did. Wrighton says he never saw the check again. James' defense team says the money was used for a banquet for the law enforcement association and scholarships, and that James is only guilty of one thing: Using poor judgment. The prosecution says there's no documentation that's how the money was spent.
The former county manager and finance officer also testified Tuesday. They say James repeatedly did not follow policies and procedures when it came to requesting money for the sheriff's department. We'll be in the courtroom as testimony continues Wednesday. We do want to note this trial is on the felony charge of embezzlement. Down the road, James may also go to trial on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges in connection with this case.