|Fraud: Jefferson’s Lawyers May Seek Postponement of Trial|
From Constance Ikokwu in Washington, D.C. with
agency report, 12.06.2007
The lawyers of indicted United States (US) Congressman, William Jefferson will on December 14 ask the court to postpone his trial slated for January by two to four months to enable them prepare adequately for his defense.
Jefferson was accused of wire fraud, money-laundering, ob-struction of justice, conspiracy and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was implicated in the case in which he was reported to have agreed to accept bribe in the form of a percentage in exchange to assist Jefferson to secure a business deal.
The defense lawyers of the Congressman will make their case before US District Judge T.S. Ellis III.
They contend that the amount of evidence, the complexity of the case and volume of materials gathered makes it impossible to prepare for their case by January. “Mr. Jefferson’s attorneys have been working diligently on this matter since the date of the indictment, but given the amount of work involved, it has been impossible to catch up to the government’s two-year head start,” said a memo filed with the court by his lawyers.
This comes as his request to have his trial transferred from Northern Virginia was rejected by Ellis. The Congressman has argued that charges were brought against him in Alexandria rather than Washington, D.C. because they wanted a venue with fewer blacks in the jury. His lawyers also contend that government agents went beyond the scope of their search warrant by taking photographs of his personal records. An evidentiary hearing will be heard later this month on Congressman’s request to suppress evidence seized and statements he made to investigators in August 2005,when his New Orleans home was raided by the FBI