Rachel Dolezal pleads not guilty to welfare fraud

Nkechi Diallo, formerly known as Rachel Dolezal, faced Spokane County Judge James Triplet Wednesday morning.  Diallo and her attorney Bevan Maxey talked amongst each other before she approached the bench to hear the charges against her formally.

When they approached the bench, Diallo only had two words. “Miss Diallo, you are charged with two counts within the information according to my docket. Count one is welfare fraud, and count two is welfare fraud false verification. To those two charges do you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty? How do you plead?" asked Spokane County Judge James Triplet. Diallo replied "Not guilty."

KHQ first told you in May about the months-long state investigation that alleged Diallo illegally received nearly $9,000 in food and child care assistance.

The case file includes bank statements showing Diallo raked in tens of thousands of dollars in book-deal payments while pleading poverty to welfare officials. According to the documents Diallo reported her income was usually less than $500 per month, in child support payments. At one point when asked as to how she was paying her bills, she reported, "Barely! With help from friends and gifts."

After Wednesday’s hearing, KHQ local news reporter Peter Maxwell asked Diallo about the discrepancies, she replied "No comment."

Diallo is expected to be booked into the Spokane County Jail on July 2nd, no later than 5 pm, to be photographed, fingerprinted, and then released. A trial date set for September 10th.

(story: Peter Maxwell, Reporter, KHQ; photo: KHQ.com)

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