Trial Date Reset for June in Case Against UCDD Defendants

February 6, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Wendy Askins

The trial date of former UCDD officials Wendy Askins, Larry Webb, and Mike Foster has been reset for June 3 in U.S. District Court in Nashville.

The trial was originally scheduled for May 20 but U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled on January 22 in favor of a motion filed by Askins for a continuance. Askins sought the delay because her daughter is getting married in May. Webb joined Askins in the request but Foster opposed the continuance. Foster wants his case dismissed or at least tried separately from Askins and Webb.

Meanwhile, Judge Trauger granted a request by Webb on January 29 for an extension of time in which all the defendants may file pre-trial motions. The new deadline is March 14. Government prosecutors in the case have until April 4 to respond to all pre-trial motions.

But to clear up any confusion, Scarlett S. Nokes, Assistant U.S. Attorney, has filed a motion seeking a clarification of the court's ruling since the judge had previously granted a 30 day extension for filing responses to Foster's motions up until February 10.

If the judge holds to the February 10 deadline, Nokes is seeking a nine day extension for filing responses to Foster's motions through February 19.

In her motion for clarification, Nokes wrote that "The government is seeking clarification of whether the responses to Fosters motions are due on April 4 or February 10, in accordance with the court's previous order of January 13, granting the government's motion for extension."

In the event that the government's responses are due by February 10, Nokes is seeking an additional nine days to respond to Foster's motions to dismiss, for a bill of particulars, for a severance, and for early disclosure and production of material. If the request for a nine day extension is granted, the government's responses will be due on or before February 19. In the alternative, if the responses are not due until April 4, the government has spoken to Foster's counsel and has agreed to file responses to the pending motions no later than February 19.

"The responses to Foster's motions, which raise several legal issues, require thorough responses and will take additional time to research in order to fully address the issues raised in the motions. However, the government does not anticipate needing any extensions beyond February 19", wrote Nokes.

Hal Hardin, the attorney for Foster filed a motion in December asking the federal court to dismiss the case against the county mayor alleging that the former UCDD Chairman made false statements to the agency's board of directors relating to the Living the Dream facility, a home for seniors in Putnam County.

In his motion to dismiss, Hardin claims that "Mr. Foster is entitled to dismissal of the charge because the "statements" he made are ambiguous to such an extent that they cannot be prosecuted as a crime".

Hardin has also filed a motion for a "Bill of Particulars" seeking specificity of the charge against Foster, and a motion for "Severance" claiming that Foster would be prejudiced by a joint trial with his co-defendants Wendy Askins and Larry Webb

At the December 10, 2013 status conference, the court established pretrial deadlines. The court ordered a deadline for the government's responses to Foster's pretrial motions to be January 10, 2014. But a 30 day extension was granted after prosecutors requested more time to respond.

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