US judge defers setting FIFA trial date

US judge overseeing the sweeping FIFA corruption scandal on Thursday postponed setting a trial date until after prosecutors share the bulk of evidence being collated in the massive investigation
AFP

New York (AFP) – The US judge overseeing the sweeping FIFA corruption scandal on Thursday postponed setting a trial date until after prosecutors share the bulk of evidence being collated in the massive investigation.

Judge Raymond Dearie ruled after government prosecutors proposed an “aggressive but achievable” schedule that would have worked towards jury selection beginning February 27, 2017 in New York.

But defense lawyers on Wednesday raised numerous objections in a case that currently has eight defendants already in the United States awaiting trial under house arrest and extradition requests pending for another nine.

“As anxious as I am to move the case forward toward trial, ongoing discovery and related complications, including the relatively recent arrival of some defendants, make the selection of a trial date unrealistic,” Dearie said.

He said the court will revisit the question of a trial date after June 30, by which time prosecutors plan to submit evidence in the case to the court.

But prosecutors also conceded Wednesday that while they expect to turn over evidence currently in their possession by then, they expect more data to come in before and after June 30.

In all, 40 officials and marketing executives are accused of soliciting and receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in a case that has sparked an unprecedented crisis at FIFA.

Fifteen individuals have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with US prosecutors in exchange for a possible reduction in sentence.

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