Federally indicted Portage Mayor James Snyder's trial has been postponed for a third time - the new trial date is scheduled for January 2018.
Earlier in June, Snyder - who is out on bond - physically assaulted / chest bumped city councilman Clem during an altercation at a city meeting.
Portage mayor's trial pushed back to January
June 29, 2017
HAMMOND — The federal corruption and bribery trial of Portage Mayor James Snyder has been pushed back to January 2018.
In a ruling filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court Northern District, Magistrate Judge John E. Martin granted a continuance requested by both Snyder, his co-defendant John Cortina and federal prosecutors earlier this month.
The original request, however, had asked to postpone the trial until October.
The ruling sets the trial for Jan 29, 2018 before District Court Judge Rudy Lozano. The deadline for filing pretrial motions has been extended to Sept. 15, 2017. A final pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 12.
The latest continuance, which will push the trial date back a year from its original scheduled date, was sought because of the large amount of discovery, including "hours of undercover recordings and hundreds of pages of documents" under review by the defense and the expectation of additional material forthcoming from the government.
In granting the request, Martin wrote it was necessary for "the parties to review the voluminous discovery and because of the complexity of the trial."
Snyder, a Republican who is in his second term, was indicted Nov. 16. Charges allege he solicited money from Cortina in order to put Cortina on the city's towing list.
Portage mayor's trial moved to January
June 28, 2017
A federal judge delayed the trial for Portage Mayor James Snyder and a city tow operator, who were both indicted on corruption charges last year.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and defense attorneys for Snyder and John Cortina, of Kustom Auto Body in Portage, petitioned the court to move the trial back to October, citing the volume of material still needed to be reviewed to prepare for the court proceedings, according to court documents.
Magistrate Judge John Martin wrote, in his order, that failing to grant the continuance would not allow the attorneys time to prepare for trial.
Martin scheduled the trial to start in January 2018.
"The discovery already tendered includes hours of undercover recordings and hundreds of pages of documents, all of which is still under review by defense counsel," the motion to continue read. "Additionally, more materials will be forthcoming from the government."
Snyder and Cortina were charged in November with allegedly violating a federal bribery statue. Federal prosecutors said Snyder allegedly solicited money from Cortina and "Individual A" and gave them a towing contract for Portage.
Snyder received an additional bribery indictment for allegedly accepting $13,000 in connection with a Board of Works contract, and allegedly obstructing Internal Revenue Service laws.
Snyder and Cortina both pleaded not guilty to the charges last year, according to court documents.
The trial for Snyder and Cortina has been continued twice already, once in January and again in March, according to court documents.