AP

Second ‘We Build The Wall’ fraud trial ends in conviction

Oct 28, 2022, 12:49 PM | Updated: 5:05 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A Colorado businessman was convicted Friday of charges that he and others siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from an online fundraiser to build a wall along the U.S. southern border despite a promise to donors that every cent would go toward building the wall.

Timothy Shea stared straight ahead without reaction as he was convicted in Manhattan federal court of two conspiracy counts and an obstruction of justice charge by a jury that deliberated about six hours after a one-week retrial. He said nothing when he was asked to comment as he left the building. Sentencing was set for Jan. 31.

Another jury deadlocked on charges in the spring after 11 jurors wrote a note to the judge to say one juror had accused the others of being politically biased and suggesting the trial should be held in the South.

Shea, of Castle Rock, Colorado, was charged two years ago along with three others, including Steve Bannon, the former top adviser to then-President Donald Trump. Bannon, who is now being prosecuted in state court, was pardoned by Trump just before he left office last year. Two others have pleaded guilty.

With its verdict, the jury rejected arguments by Shea’s lawyer, John Meringolo, that prosecutors had failed to prove there was fraud in the promotion of the “We Build The Wall” fundraiser that attracted $25 million in donations from hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

Meringolo also encouraged jurors during closing arguments Thursday to conclude that New York was an improper venue for the trial.

He also tried to convince them that his client had a right to accept reimbursement of extensive expenses related to the wall because he had done substantial work negotiating with homeowners on whose property the wall would be built and providing security for the construction. Only a few miles of wall were built.

Shea owns an energy drink company, Winning Energy, whose cans have featured a cartoon superhero image of Trump and claim to contain “12 oz. of liberal tears.”

After the verdict, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that Shea and his codefendants lied to donors and “stole over $25 million from their victims.”

He referenced the failure to secure a guilty verdict from a jury last spring when he said his office after the trial had “stated our belief in the powerful and compelling evidence that showed Shea’s guilt. Today, a unanimous jury has convicted Shea on all counts in the indictment. I commend the prosecutors of this Office for their perseverance in ensuring justice was done.”

Shea’s attorney Meringolo said, “We respect the jury’s verdict.”

Bannon, 68, last month pleaded not guilty to New York state charges alleging that he cheated investors to the “We Build The Wall” campaign. Presidential pardons apply only to federal crimes.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

2 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

3 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

3 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

5 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Second ‘We Build The Wall’ fraud trial ends in conviction