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Court Agrees to Delay Start of Jefferson Trial Pending Appeal

The corruption trial of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has been delayed indefinitely pending his appeal of a federal district court’s denial of his motion to dismiss the charges against him. Jefferson’s lawyers filed a notice on Wednesday alerting the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia that the Congressman would appeal the court’s ruling. Jefferson’s attorneys claim that the grand jury that indicted the Congressman was exposed to information that should have been protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. In light of the appeal, Judge T.S. Ellis issued an order Thursday placing the trial on hold until further notice. The trial was originally scheduled to begin in January, but Jefferson’s attorneys requested more time to prepare. The judge had rescheduled the trial to begin Feb. 25. — Paul Singer