Medford trial delayed

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis has granted a request that the trial of former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford be pushed back a month.

In an order filed Friday, the judge ordered Medford’s trial to be continued and set the new date for April 29. Medford’s trial had been scheduled to begin Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Stephen Lindsay, Medford’s attorney, filed a motion to delay the proceedings. Lindsay claims that the current date does not give him enough time to review the roomful of evidence that federal authorities have gathered in the case. Medford is accused of running an extortion operation related to illegal video-poker machines while he was sheriff.

“The reason for this motion is to enable undersigned counsel to properly prepare to defend the serious allegations against Mr. Medford,” the motion reads. “Without the additional time to prepare for trial, the trial of Mr. Medford by the federal government will not be a fair trial as required by law.”

In addition to a lack of time to review the evidence, Lindsay said that the current date also doesn’t leave him enough time for “[finding witnesses] favorable to the defense, locating any physical evidence that might support a defense verdict, determining whether any expert witnesses are appropriate, preparing defense witnesses to testify at trial and preparing exhibits for use at trial.”

In his order, Judge Ellis wrote: “The government has filed a response to defendant’s motion in which it does not specifically address the various factors relevant to a continuance determination, but instead merely takes the position that defendant’s counsel has had ample opportunity to review the materials relevant to the instant prosecution.”

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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