FILE - Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson

Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis

(The Center Square) – Attorneys for Tennessee state Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis, have filed an appeal, asking for acquittal or a new trial on the four counts she was convicted of Sept. 30 by a jury.

“No rational jury could have found Ms. Robinson guilty of those counts based on the allegations presented to the grand jury and returned in the Second Superseding Indictment,” the appeal reads.

Robinson’s attorneys claim the allegations that led to her indictment, stealing $600,000 in grants from a nonprofit, were not proven by the government.

That lack of proof is why days of testimony were removed from the record and Robinson was acquitted of 15 charges, the appeal said.

The appeal also said that Robinson’s Fifth Amendment protections against incriminating herself were not protected in the case. The government filed an amended indictment in the case.

“The Government created a mess in this case when they over-reached and charged Ms. Robinson with crimes, which they simply could not prove,” the appeal said. “The Court was forced to strike days of testimony, and the Government, then, facing a likely acquittal on almost all of the counts, shifted their theory and allegations in contravention of the Fifth Amendment.”

Robinson’s The Healthcare Institute received more than $2.2 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services between 2015 and 2019.

Robinson initially was charged with using some of those funds to pay for personal expenses, including clothing and beauty products, a vehicle for her daughter, wedding and honeymoon expenses, legal fees for her divorce and a campaign event.

The amended charges Robinson was convicted of were related to wire fraud.

No timeline has been set to hear the appeal, but the appeal cited Rule 29, which requires Robinson to file an appeal on the charges within 14 days of the conviction.

Staff Reporter

Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies.