Judge rejects Phelps' push to ban some testimony, arguments

ARMOUR, S.D. (AP) – Attorney General Marty Jackley says a judge has denied a request from a man accused of aiding in an embezzlement scheme to exclude some arguments and witness testimony at trial.

Jackley said the judge on Thursday rejected former GEAR UP consultant Stacy Phelps' motion to block a legislative auditor's testimony and confine prosecutor's arguments. Phelps and former Mid-Central Educational Cooperative Director Dan Guericke are accused of falsifying evidence and conspiring to offer forged or fraudulent evidence.

Their October trial comes after cooperative employee Scott Westerhuis in 2015 killed his family and himself following theft that authorities believe topped $1 million.

Jackley says the judge is weighing other defense motions including one to exclude evidence of allegedly improper purchases made on the debit card of a nonprofit Phelps headed. Another push to exclude the auditor's testimony is pending.