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October 24, 2017 05:40 PM

2018 Trial Dates Set In GEAR UP Criminal Cases

Lake Andes, SD

Originally published at 12:32 p.m.; updated at 5:40 p.m.

Jury trial dates have been set in the GEAR UP criminal cases.  

Former Mid Central Educational Cooperative Director Dan Guericke is accused of altering contracts for GEAR UP work to avoid audits of the money.  Stacy Phelps, who headed up the American Indian Institute for Innovation, which took grant money, is accused of the same thing. 

Guericke and Phelps will go on before a Charles Mix County jury June 25-July 20, 2018.

Stephanie Hubers, the former business manager of Mid Central, is accused of taking more than $50,000 in hush money to keep quiet about Scott and Nicole Westerhuis embezzling grant funds.  Hubers will go on trial March 1-9, 2018. 

Both Hubers and Guericke asked the judge for a change of venue, saying they can't get a fair trial in Charles Mix County because of all the publicity.  Judge Bruce Anderson will hold a hearing on December 18 to consider any motions for a change of venue.  Judge Anderson could also consider a request to try Guericke and Phelps separately. 

Attorney General Marty Jackley says he still hasn't ruled out additional charges or even charges against others in the GEAR UP scandal.  

"As legislative hearings occur information may come out.  As trials come up witnesses may say different things and there would be no reason for a prosecutor to rule out any additional charges at this stage. This is an important case in South Dakota and I want to make sure I keep an open mind and options available should we look at additional charges or charging defendants," Jackley said. 

KELOLAND Investigates has learned that Judge Bruce Anderson has also ruled on what evidence the jury may hear in the three cases.  However that ruling has not been made public yet.

KELOLAND Investigates reached out to all three defense attorneys for comment on this story.  

Dan Guericke’s attorney Mike Butler was unavailable. Stephanie Huber’s attorney Clint Sargent responded in an email, “(Judge Anderson) He has not yet ruled on my motion requesting a trial to the court, or alternatively, change of venue. I do not expect a decision on that motion until sometime in 2018.” 

And Stacy Phelps' attorney issued us the following statement: 

“After a year and a half of hearing State government apologists and the media talking about the so-called “Gear Up scandal,” we finally learn from the Secretary  Schopp from the State Department of Education that no Gear Up money was stolen, embezzled or misappropriated. This is not the Gear Up scandal. This is the State Department of Education scandal. The trial against Stacy Phelps is a political trial. Nothing more. And nothing less.” –Dana Hanna, Stacy Phelps’ Defense Attorney


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