Jefferson Objects to Expedited Appeal

Posted April 1, 2008 at 12:22pm

Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) has asked a federal appeals court to reject the government’s request for the court to expedite its consideration of the charges against him.

A lower court has rejected Jefferson’s claim that the corruption indictment against him should be invalidated because the government presented the grand jury with evidence that violated the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause.

Jefferson appealed the ruling in February to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Last month, the Justice Department argued that the appeals court should expedite the case because the issue has been thoroughly debated in the in the lower court. The government even suggested that the court could do away with oral arguments on the matter.

But Jefferson on Tuesday filed a brief opposing the expedited process, arguing that the case “presents significant questions of constitutional law that require full briefing and thorough consideration, and the Department of Justice has not pointed to any specific reason to accelerate the ordinary schedule in this case.”

Jefferson’s trial on more than a dozen corruption and bribery charges originally was scheduled to begin in January, but there remain a number of key issues likely to go to appeal that may delay the case for many months.