Merrill wants to delay criminal trial for three weeks
The criminal trial of James Merrill is quite possibly one of the most anticipated MLM Ponzi regulatory actions to date.
Two years in the making, Merrill is currently scheduled to stand trial on October 23rd.
In an eleventh hour filing however, Merrill has now asked the court to delay the trial for three weeks.
Among other things, an all-star hockey and lacrosse tournament are cited in Merrill’s motion for a continuance.
More legally compelling reasons include continued problems with discovery.
Merrill claims the DOJ provided him with digital versions of exhibits on September 26th.
If printed, the exhibits in “PDF” format would amount to approximately twenty-eight thousand (28,000) pages.
Particularly at issue are massive spreadsheets of corporate transactions (spanning hundreds of thousands of lines of data) and voluminous bank records (which amount to approximately 17,000 pages of the 28,000 page figure).
Evidentiary issues are also cited. Merrill claims the delay will allow him and the government to “streamline evidentiary issues”.
In addition to the foregoing, there remain outstanding issues in terms of the defendant’s preparation for cross-examination of the government’s proposed expert witnesses.
In July and August 2016, the government provided expert disclosures to the defendant, including two experts prepared to testify regarding their complex, if not convoluted, analysis of TelexFree’s immense database.
A forensic examiner engaged to assist the defense has requested additional materials as part of his review.
The defendant sent a corresponding discovery letter to the government on September 21, 2016.
The parties are working towards an accommodation regarding the requested materials, but additional time is necessary for the defense to receive and review the requested materials.
With great big Ponzi comes great big discovery. But this is nothing new. Merrill’s trial has been delayed now by six months.
Lastly, as an aside, this past Saturday, counsel’s youngest son was invited to participate in an all-star hockey tournament in Chicago from November 3 to November 7.
Counsel’s daughter is playing in a lacrosse tournament in Maryland the same weekend and our three children have only two parents.
While certainly not a legally compelling reason for a continuance, a continuance would certainly help in this last regard as well.
The defense is mindful of the adverse impact a continuance can have on the Court’s calendar and does not make this request lightly or without regard for that inconvenience.
The defendant respectfully submits, however, that a continuance is necessary to provide Mr. Merrill a fair trial.
Merrill’s motion is current before the court and awaiting a decision. If granted, Merrill has request the trial be postponed till November 14th.
Footnote Our thanks to Don@ASDUpdates for providing a copy of James Merrill’s “Motion to Continue Trial To November 14, 2016” (filed October 3rd).
Update October 6th 2016 – Following a hearing held on October 5th, a new trial date has been scheduled for November 8th.
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