Federal judge acquits state senator on 15 charges; trial continues on 5 others

Memphis, Tenn. — A federal judge Sunday granted a motion to acquit a state senator of some of the charges against her after prosecutors accused her of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a federal grant, federal documents showed.

Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Shelby County) has been on trial for two weeks facing charges of theft, fraud and embezzlement.

SEE MORE: Tennessee state senator’s trial on theft charges begins

Sunday, US District Judge Sheryl Lipman filed an order granting her motion for acquittal on 15 charges, according to online court records. The judge denied a motion to acquit on five other charges.

Robinson’s attorneys asked for the acquittals after prosecutors rested their case last week.

SEE MORE: State Sen. Katrina Robinson charged with theft, could face up to 20 years in prison

The charges came after Robinson was indicted on charges she had misused $600,000 of federal money granted to the Healthcare Institute, a nursing school she founded. Robinson was accused of using the money to pay for vacations and expensive personal items, among other things.

SEE MORE: Lawyer: Tennessee state senator did not steal federal funds

Robinson received $2.2 million between 2015 and 2019.

Government prosecutors and Robinson’s defense attorneys appeared in court for a late afternoon hearing Friday in which Robinson’s attorneys accused prosecutors of “shifting theories” during their presentation of the case.

SEE MORE: Tense exchanges mark day of testimony in Tennessee lawmaker’s federal criminal trial

Robinson’s attorneys filed a motion that sought to have all 20 counts against Robinson dismissed because they said the government evidence was insufficient to prove Robinson was guilty of the crimes they accused her of committing.

Sunday’s order said Lipman was set to issue an oral ruling in court on Monday.

SEE MORE: Prosecutors in Katrina Robinson fraud case want trial moved out of Memphis

The jury will return to court Tuesday, the order showed.