U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle agreed Friday to postpone the retrial of former House-aide-turned-lobbyist Kevin Ring until July.
Ring’s defense team had sought the delay, citing several cases now under consideration in the Supreme Court that deal with the same public corruption statute under which Ring was charged in a September 2008 indictment.
Federal prosecutors have relied heavily on that law, the honest services fraud statute, in their influence-peddling investigation of Ring’s former boss, disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, in part because it provides more legal flexibility than the rigid requirements of charges such as bribery.
“Given the continuing uncertainty regarding the honest services statute, it is unreasonable to impose the burden and significant cost of preparing for a June retrial on Mr. Ring,” defense attorneys Andrew Wise and Timothy O’Toole wrote in a Jan. 25 motion. “It is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty the charges Mr. Ring will be forced to defend against and how the elements of some of those charges might be defined.”
Ring, a former aide to then-Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) and then-Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), is accused of providing tickets to sporting events and other gifts to Congressional staff in exchange for assistance for Abramoff’s clients.
Ring’s first trial occurred in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in fall 2009, but Huvelle declared a mistrial in October when jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.