Defense attorneys, prosecutors and a federal judge used a status hearing today to try to come up with new trial date in Mississippi's judicial bribery case. In the end, no date was set.
U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate said conflicts with lawyers involved in other trials and a variety of motions on which he's still to rule has delayed the setting of a new trial. Many defense attorneys say it's unlikely a trial will take place before the first of the year.
Gulf Coast attorney Paul Minor, former Judges John Whitfield and Wes Teel and Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz and Diaz' ex-wife, Jennifer, are accused of participating in a scheme in which Minor allegedly provided cash, loans, and gifts to the judges in exchange for favorable decisions.
The five initially were indicted last summer. A new indictment was filed by federal prosecutors in February charging Diaz and Minor with extortion, besides the fraud and bribery allegations.
The defendants all have pleaded not guilty.
An Aug. 16 trial date was postponed by Wingate to allow defense attorneys time to prepare. Minor and Teel had sought the postponement. Attorneys for the Diazes had not.
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