Former Broward School Board member makes allegations against renowned attorney
Stephanie Kraft, husband prepare for upcoming corruption trial
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After years of delays, the corruption trial of former Broward school board member Stephanie Kraft and her husband, Mitch, is finally set to begin.
But Friday, Kraft and her lawyers were in court making serious allegations of a conflict of interest in the case by one of South Florida's most prominent attorneys.
Attorney David Bogenschutz is the go-to guy for politicians in hot water in Broward County. But Stephanie and Mitch Kraft's lawyers accused Bogenschutz of double-crossing them in court.
The couple claims Bogenschutz met with the Krafts as their potential attorney and then used information from that meeting against them.
The Krafts also claim Bogenschutz failed to tell them he was already representing bribe-paying father and son developers Bruce and Shawn Chait, who were cooperating with state prosecutors against the Krafts and are now the star witnesses against them.
The Chaits claim the couple accepted $10,000 from them in exchange for their help in getting them a $500,000 break on fees from the school board.
"If he used attorney-client privileged information against the Krafts, that's a very serious allegation. And the law assumes he did," said Kevin Kulik, Stephanie Kraft's attorney.
Judge Matthew Destry agreed the allegation was serious but denied the motion, saying any wrongdoing was done by Bogenschutz, not state prosecutors.
"The state should not be precluded from pursuing this prosecution because of the actions of Mr. Bogenschutz," said Destry. "If there are issues with Mr. Bogenschutz take those up with those Bar or elsewhere."
Bogenschutz was out of town and released no comment on the allegations but prosecutor Catherine Maus called the motion "outlandish" and said the state could refute every accusation.
Kulik said no decision had been made on whether a Bar complaint would be filed against Bogenschutz.
"That would be up to the clients," said Kulik. "Our focus is really on winning the case for the Krafts."
The Krafts' trial date is scheduled for Sept. 15.
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