Austin Jenkins

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.

The stories are heartbreaking. An infant rolls off a bed and suffocates on a plastic bag. A one-month-old dies while sleeping between two adults.

According to a report on child fatalities released Friday by Washington state’s Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, unsafe sleep conditions are the leading cause of death for infants in whose families have come into contact with the child welfare system.

The state of Washington has struck a deal with the feds to keep Western State Hospital open and funded. The Department of Social and Health Services announced late Thursday that it will negotiate a Systems Improvement Agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

On the eve of a two-week closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said she’s confident the tunneling project under Seattle’s waterfront will ultimately succeed.

The viaduct is closing to allow the tunnel-boring machine known as Bertha to dig underneath the double-decker structure. Under the original timeline the tunnel was supposed to be open by now and the viaduct long ago torn down.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley hugged and kissed his wife and shook his lawyers' hands as he was found not guilty Tuesday on a charge of making a false statement to the IRS. A federal jury in Tacoma deadlocked on the remaining 14 counts, including charges of possession of stolen property, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

The dramatic turn of events followed nearly four days of deliberations and comes almost exactly a year after Kelley was indicted by a federal grand jury. Prosecutors did not immediately indicate if they intend to re-try Kelley on any of the charges.

The jury in the federal criminal trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley appears to be struggling to find agreement on at least one of the 15 counts. The jurors sent a question to the judge Monday asking what to do if they deadlock on a charge.

A Washington daycare provider has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Working Connections Child Care program to the tune of $250,000. The plea was entered Thursday in federal court in Seattle.

The state cracked down on these cases five years ago and this is the biggest one yet.

After a nearly six week trial, the guilt or acquittal of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley rests with a jury of seven men and five women. The case went to the jury late Wednesday afternoon following lengthy closing arguments by the prosecution and defense.

After nearly six weeks, the jury in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley will hear closing arguments Wednesday and then retire to decide the case.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton dismissed one of the false declaration charges against Kelley on the grounds that prosecutors had failed to introduce sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable jury to convict on that particular charge.

However, the judge denied a defense motion for a judgment of acquittal on all of the charges and declared the case will go to the jury.

A southwest Washington mill owner has been sentenced to six months in prison for trafficking in bigleaf maple that was later sold to guitar makers. Harold Clause Kupers will also serve six months of home detention and pay nearly $160,000 in restitution.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley is not expected to testify in his real estate services and fraud trial.

Instead, the first-term Democrat is counting on his defense team to convince a jury to acquit him of an array of charges that include possession of stolen funds, money laundering and filing false tax returns.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg wants to make his office nonpartisan. The Republican said he will ask the county council to send a charter amendment to voters this fall.

Closing arguments are expected Tuesday in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley. The defense plans to call its last witness Monday.

After five weeks, the end of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley's trial is in sight. Defense attorney Angelo Calfo has spiced up the at times eye-glazing real estate services and tax fraud trial with surprises.

After opening statements, Calfo moved for a mistrial. After the prosecution rested, he moved for most of the charges to be dismissed. The judge rejected both ploys.

Then on Thursday, Calfo did something that can fairly be called unusual for a criminal proceeding: he called as a defense witness the lead FBI agent on the case.

When home buyers and sellers sign a HUD-1 settlement statement at the closing of a real estate deal, they sign away their rights to the money they agree to pay in closing fees.

That was the testimony Wednesday of the first defense witness to be called in the real estate services and tax fraud case against Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

The prosecution has rested its case in the trial of Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley and the defense called its first witness Wednesday morning. But before that came a dramatic courtroom moment.

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