Marie Osmond Blosil and her brother, Merrill Osmond, were called back to the witness stand in the J. Gary Sheets trial Thursday, with both sides apparently scoring points off their testimony.
They were called as rebuttal witnesses by the prosecution as the case seems likely to go to the jury soon. Sheets is charged in U.S. District Court with 34 counts of fraud and theft.Blosil testified Feb. 24 that Sheets took $30,000 from her pension plan, called Marie Inc., on June 19, 1985, investing it in his working fund program. Almost all investors in Sheets' Working Fund I and II lost their money.
She said she was not aware at the time that the money was removed from the pension account. Two weeks later, when she was performing in Bloomington, Minn., Sheets sent Blosil a withdrawal slip and loose papers with instructions to sign, but not date the papers and send them back to him immediately.
When she returned to the witness stand Thursday, Blosil confirmed under cross-examination by defense lawyer David Bird that she met with Sheets in early June 1985 during a Syracuse, N.Y., telethon.
Bird tried to pin her down about discussions she may have had with Sheets about the Working Fund proposals, but she kept returning to the theme that Sheets convinced her to trust him.
"He gave me the idea he was a bishop and somebody I could trust," Blosil said. "I was very vulnerable."
She said that she had been going through a divorce and Sheets said he would take care of her financially.
"He was going to come in and evaluate my financial situation . . . to set up a budget and work through this mess that had been created," she said of an early meeting with Sheets in Orem.
Another point, she said, "I had a certain amount of money left to my name that he took."
She said she was irritated with Sheets asking about her personal life when he telephoned her in Bloomington. When Bird asked if Sheets told her what the papers she was to sign were for, she replied, "I don't remember." But she said the conversation did not review detailed financial information.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stewart Walz asked her what she remembered about the events in Syracuse, and she said, "The day was spent pretty much doing press."
Merrill Osmond had testified earlier that he signed an investment agreement when Sheets visited him at Utah Valley Hospital. He had gone there suffering from stress.
"I remember being a little sedated . . . just a little happy," he said Thursday.
Walz asked whether Sheets talked about working capital, conversion of short-term debt to long-term debt, balance sheets or the financial condition of Sheets' companies. "No sir," Osmond answered to each query.