Lake sheriff wins delay in bribery case
Mar 31, 2017
HAMMOND — Lake County Sheriff John Buncich's public corruption trial is being postponed until later this year.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry issued an order this week that he is preparing to grant the sheriff's request to move his trial from April 10 to later this summer.
Buncich's lawyer, Bryan M. Truitt, stated in a motion he filed this week in court that he needs additional time to prepare a defense against wire fraud and bribery charges the sheriff has been facing since his indictment Nov. 18.
Truitt said the sheriff's defense team first must analyze 128 megabytes of evidence that includes hundreds of photographs and recordings made during months of federal surveillance of the sheriff.
Truitt said he is still awaiting other evidence the government may have, but has yet to disclose.
He said the government has yet to turn over property federal investigators seized last November from Buncich's office and home in Crown Point, although negotiations are underway to recover it.
He said Valparaiso attorney Larry Rogers, who will be co-counsel on the sheriff's defense team, has been occupied with other criminal trials for the past month and has had little time to assist in the case.
Truitt said he has conferred with government prosecutors as well as the attorney for co-defendant William Szarmach, and he states they won't object to delay the beginning of the trial to late July or early August.
Buncich is pleading not guilty to a five-count indictment alleging he deprived the public of honest government services by soliciting and receiving thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from towing firms wanting work from county police.
Szarmach is pleading not guilty to a charge he paid bribes to the sheriff in 2015 and 2016 so his CSA towing firm in Lake Station received county police business.