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Fraud and theft trial begins
Courtesy of Frederick News-Post
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As a theft and fraud trial began Monday in Frederick County Circuit Court, Jason S. Shoemaker -- the prosecutor -- told jurors he would prove Laura Moore's guilt.

Minutes later, Jason W. Shoemaker -- the defense attorney -- said he'd prove the Knoxville woman's innocence.

Moore, 51, stands accused of 75 crimes tied to a theft scheme that began in the Brunswick area, according to court testimony. The crimes -- including counterfeiting, forgery and making a false statement to a police officer -- occurred from August 2006 to March 2007.

To avoid confusion because both lawyers have the same name, some courtroom observers suggested Judge Theresa M. Adams address them by their middle initials.

To the defense attorney's gratitude, she opted for "Mr. Shoemaker, state" and "Mr. Shoemaker, defense."

Being called "Dubya" might not go over too well in some parts these days, quipped Mr. Shoemaker, defense.

"No comment," the judge said, allowing opening statements to begin.

Punch lines aside, both lawyers told those seated in the jury box -- 12 jurors and three alternates - - that the trial will include reams of financial figures and exhibits, including fake $20s, a fake $50 and a fake $100 bill.

During deliberations, jurors will be able to touch and examine the bills, the prosecutor said. Time and again, store clerks who handled them told police they didn't seem quite right.

Citing video surveillance, Mr. Shoemaker, state, told jurors he would show Moore being "caught in the act" passing bad bills -- more than once during a rash of counterfeiting crimes.

People who commit fraud crimes "are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet," said Mr. Shoemaker, state. "When they get caught, they feign innocence. They claim they are unsuspecting victims themselves."

Mr. Shoemaker, defense, said his client will prove her innocence by taking the stand when he presents his case.

"There's serious problems with the state's case -- she is innocent," said Mr. Shoemaker, defense, urging jurors to be mindful of the need to prove criminal intent.

"There's no evidence how she got it. There's no evidence where she got it. There's no evidence she's capable of making it," he said.

Possession of counterfeit documents isn't a crime, the defense attorney told jurors. "She didn't know this money was fake."

The trial -- scheduled to run through May 6 -- resumes this morning.
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