With immunity, star prosecution witness returns to stand in state auditor’s trial

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TACOMA -- A key witness in the federal trial of state Auditor Troy Kelley returned to the stand Thursday, where the defense suggested he changed his story after reaching a deal with prosecutors for immunity.

Jason Jerue, an acquaintance of Kelley’s since 1997, worked for Kelley's real estate company during the period when prosecutors claim Kelley pocketed $3.6 million that should have been returned to clients.

On the stand, Jerue claimed he destroyed documents, deleted files and altered spreadsheets at Kelley’s behest, which prosecutors suggest was in an effort to hide the fact that Kelley kept money he wasn't entitled to.

Under cross-examination, however, defense attorney Patty Eakes questioned why Jerue never made those claims when initially interviewed by investigators.

“You never said anything about Mr. Kelley doing anything improper with the books, correct?” Eakes asked.

“Correct,” Jerue replied.

Kelley has been indicted on more than a dozen counts, including money laundering, making false statements, and violating tax law.