Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Update on Esther Elizabeth Reed Criminal Case
Story from Greenvilleonline.com Lawyers for woman charged in ID theft seek change of venue By Eric Connor • STAFF WRITER • June 24, 2008 Attorneys for a high-school dropout accused of assuming a missing Upstate woman's identity and several others to con her way into prestigious universities asked a Greenville federal judge today to either dismiss charges that she submitted fraudulent loan applications or move her high-profile case to Columbia or Atlanta. Esther Elizabeth Reed, 30, is accused in a federal indictment of stealing the identity of 20-year-old Brooke Henson, who disappeared in 1999 from her Travelers Rest home, to swindle at least $40,000 in student loans to attend Columbia University. Henson is believed to be dead, though police have said they don't believe Reed had a hand in her disappearance. Prosecutors say the Reed assumed other women's identities to secure more than $100,000 in student loans and used her intellect to claim a false career as a chess champion and dupe professors into helping her attend prestigious universities across the country. Reed's case has attracted the attention of both local and national media -- and Reed's attorneys argue in a motion to dismiss filed that the connection with Henson's highly publicized disappearance has spawned "extreme" Upstate publicity before the trial that makes it difficult for a judge to seat an impartial jury in Greenville. In arguing to have the case moved to either Columbia or Atlanta from the Greenville division of South Carolina district court, attorneys Ann Marie Fitz of Atlanta and Ryan Beasley of Greenville wrote that "the inherently prejudicial pre-trial publicity will deprive the defendant of her right to a fair trial." Rest of article.