Jefferson Trial Date Set for Dec. 2

Posted June 16, 2008 at 9:52am

A federal judge has rescheduled Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) corruption trial for Tuesday, Dec. 2. The 16-count indictment against the Louisiana Congressman alleges he offered and accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to promote business ventures in west African nations.

The trial, originally scheduled to begin last January, was delayed pending a ruling on Jefferson’s ongoing appeals case.

Jefferson has asked a federal appeals court to throw out most of the charges against him on the grounds that testimony heard in front of a grand jury violated the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which protects most legislative activity from intervention by other branches of government. Oral arguments in the appeals case are tentatively scheduled to begin in late September.

In an order filed Friday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge T.S. Ellis III recognized that the outcome of the appeal and several motions Jefferson has filed with the district court may still delay the case.

But Ellis ruled that it is prudent nonetheless to set a tentative trial date.