Defense attorneys for embattled brokers Timothy McGinn and David Smith will have until after the beginning of the new year to prepare for trial, after a federal judge ruled the case wouldn’t likely be resolved before the holidays.
U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd postponed the trial — set to start next week in Utica — until Jan. 7. In reaching his decision, Hurd cited the large number of witnesses expected to be called by prosecutors and his doubts that the trial would wrap up before Thanksgiving, as initially intended.
“Upon reviewing the pretrial submissions, especially the extensive witness and exhibit lists, it is clear that a trial in this matter will not be completed in its entirety prior to the upcoming holidays, as previously planned,” he stated in his order, issued Wednesday.
Hurd’s ruling was to the satisfaction of attorneys William Dreyer and E. Stewart Jones, who filed for a continuance last month after federal prosecutors lodged additional indictments against the longtime partners of the Albany-based McGinn, Smith & Co., accusing them of defrauding more than $9 million from their clients.
Jones and Dreyer accused the prosecution of dumping roughly 6,000 pages of evidence on them just weeks before a trial where they planned to call 91 witnesses.
Hurd’s ruling could also mean another high-profile trial will need to be pushed back. The trial of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno on charges of honest services fraud is slated for Feb. 4, a date Jones believes will overlap with the McGinn-Smith case.
“I think it’s unrealistic at this point that we can finish McGinn-Smith by then,” he said.
The federal criminal case against McGinn and Smith came after the Securities and Exchange Commission brought a case against the partners for allegedly raising more than $136 million from more than 900 investors by conducting more than 20 fraudulent debt offerings between 2005 and 2009. The civil court proceeding was stayed after the federal indictment was filed earlier this year.
The partners vehemently deny the charges against them in the 32-count indictment. They claim investor losses were a factor of the sudden downturn of the economy.