Top Public Defender Accused in Marriage Sham Case

9 years 9 months 3 weeks ago June 01, 2007 Jun 1, 2007 Friday, June 01 2007 Friday, June 01, 2007 3:20:27 PM CDT in News
Source: (Copyright 2007 The Associated Press All Rights Reserved.)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The former head of the state public defender's office in St. Louis faces federal charges for allegedly arranging a sham marriage to keep his boyfriend in the United States. US Attorney Catherine Hanaway says Eric Affholter and the man described by prosecutors as his partner, Pedro Cerna-Rojas, a native of Peru, were indicted for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Authorities believe Cerna-Rojas may have fled the country. Hanaway says the men recruited an assistant public defender, Collette Lewis, to marry Cerna-Rojas in 2004 for the sole purpose of keeping him in the U-S. She was not indicted. Affholter and Lewis both resigned last week. A third lawyer, a prosecutor in the city Circuit Attorney's office, witnessed the 2004 marriage and also resigned but was not indicted.

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