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Franklin Prosecution, Defense Say Fraud Case Not Expected To Include Child Abuse - Apr 17, 1990 - Omaha World-Herald

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Apr 17, 1990 Franklin Prosecution, Defense Say Fraud Case Not Expected To Include Child Abuse; [Metro Edition] David Thompson. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 1

Full Text (494 words)
(Copyright 1990 Omaha World-Herald Company)

Lawrence E. King Jr.'s court-appointed defense attorney said he expects the government to produce evidence that King had homosexual friends and spent money on them from the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union.

But neither the defense attorney nor the chief federal prosecutor in the case expects to enter trial evidence that links King with the spending of money on child abuse, both said Monday.

"This case involves sensational issues," defense attorney Steven Achelpohl said during a federal court hearing Monday to determine whether the trial of King and his wife, Alice, should be moved out of Nebraska.

Achelpohl and Mrs. King's attorney, Jerold Fennell, contend that pretrial publicity makes it necessary to shift the trial because an impartial jury cannot be found here.

$39 Million Missing

King was manager-treasurer of Franklin when it failed in November 1988. Investigators later found $39 million missing from the Franklin treasury.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Thalken, the prosecutor, did not respond during the Monday hearing to Achelpohl's statement about the government bringing evidence of King allegedly spending money on homosexual friends.

Thalken also declined to comment on Achelpohl's statement when asked by a reporter Tuesday.

In the Monday hearing, Thalken said there "won't be any evidence in this case that Larry King used money from Franklin to engage in child abuse."

He was responding to a comment by Fennell, who said Mrs. King wants to be tried separately from her husband.

"If Alice King is tried separately, as she hopes to be, there will be no evidence, no discussion about child abuse," Fennell said.

Mental Disorder

In a motion filed April 5, Fennell said King's court-ordered hospitalization for treatment of a mental disorder will delay the trial indefinitely and will prejudice Mrs. King's case.

King is charged with 40 counts of conspiracy, fraud and federal income tax evasion in connection with the missing money. Mrs. King is charged with 12 counts of conspiracy and fraud.

They are scheduled to be tried together in U.S. District Court in Omaha.

Mrs. King sat expressionless during much of Monday's hearing, but she pursed her lips and her eyes glistened through her glasses when Fennell referred to child-abuse allegations.Transfer Possible

Fennell and Achelpohl said a suitable site for the trial of the Kings would be Minneapolis; St. Paul, Minn.; St. Louis; or Kansas City, Mo. U.S. Magistrate Richard Kopf raised the possibility of transferring the proceedings to North Platte, Neb., but defense attorneys objected.

If the request to move the trial is not approved, Achelpohl said, he will ask for a government-financed poll to see whether there is prejudice in Omaha to the extent that an impartial jury could not be found. The poll results also could be used for jury selection, he said.

Kopf said he will make findings and recommendations on the trial location for U.S. District Judge William Cambridge. Cambridge, who is designated to preside at the Kings' trial, can accept, reject or modify the recommendations.

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer

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