Cheer coach may "resolve" case Feb. 15

Ashlee Nicole Haley, the former SF State cheer coach, charged with multiple felonies including grand theft, made her appearance in San Francisco Superior Court today for a pre-hearing conference at 10:30 a.m.

By 10:40, the hearing was over.

Haley, with her attorney Sujung Kim representing her, asked Judge Jeff Ross to schedule another hearing for Feb. 15 in which the defense and the prosecution will most likely settle the case.

“We’re in negotiation,” Kim said during the hearing. “I believe we are going to resolve this case.”

The 24-year-old Haley – who is charged with 12 counts of grand theft, 16 counts of obtaining money through false pretenses and one count of embezzlement – initially pled not guilty Sept. 17,2010, but it appears she will now accept a plea deal.

“More likely than not, this will not go to trial,” said Sanaz Nikaein, the special district attorney for the case. “The defendant has admitted guilt and wants to resolve this matter.”

When Ross took the bench around 9:30, Haley sat quietly in a charcoal suit waiting for Kim, a San Francisco public defender, to represent her other clients. When she joined Kim at the podium in front of Ross, she presented him a letter from the Women’s Reentry Center, a program of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department that assists women in achieving safe and healthy lifestyles.

“I see you’re also involved in community service?” Ross asked with a smile, just before accepting the Feb. 15 preliminary date. “Please, keep doing the work you’re doing.”

He then set the time for the pretrial at 9 a.m., with an 8:45 closed-door conference.

Haley is accused of accepting a total $20,000 from at least 20 University cheerleaders for a voluntary camp in Southern California, with some members giving as much as $1,000. Instead of spending the money on uniforms and transportation for her squad, she used the money to finance various personal expenditures – including a trip to Las Vegas.

The University could not be reached for comment regarding the hearing, but when Haley was charged in September, spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said that the University provided none of the money Haley allegedly stole.

“This is a very sad violation of trust among a peer group,” Griffin said at the time.

Nikaein, who deals with cases involving large sums of money, said that currently both sides are working to finalize the terms of the settlement. Those terms should be complete when Haley reappears in court in less than a month.

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