FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A judge has ruled the case against former Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, can move forward, court records state.
U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks denied motions to dismiss the case from Woods and other defendants on Friday.
Woods had requested the case be dismissed after an FBI laptop that had audio recordings in the case was completely erased multiple times, court documents state.
Brooks denied his motion to dismiss but also said the government may not introduce any of the audio recordings. Court documents state the government is also barred from calling FBI Agent Robert Cessario (the agent who erased the laptop with evidence multiple times) as a witness.
Court documents state Cessario may face criminal charges of his own and is under investigation by the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General.
Woods and two other men have been accused of funneling state money into an account at Ecclesia College in Springdale.
In turn, Woods and Oren Paris, III would receive kickbacks from the school. Paris, also indicted, is Ecclesia College’s President.
The third man accused is Randall Shelton, Jr. He’s listed in the indictment as part of a consulting company that was used to pay and conceal the kickbacks.
Read more about Woods’ case here.