A criminal trial date set last week for the remaining defendants in the FIFA corruption probe under way in the U.S. was vacated just a few days later by the American federal court judge hearing the case.
District Court Judge Raymond Dearie had provisionally set trial in the matter for Feb. 27, 2017, but indicated Thursday that simply was not going to be possible.
“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 at this time.”
The setting of a new trial date would be “revisited,” the judge said, after June.
In addition to discovery requirements for defendants who have not already pleaded guilty in connection with the case, It was pointed out by federal prosecutors that nine criminal defendants in the case, including Trinidad’s Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice president, have yet to be extradited from their current locations and no reliable timeline has been set for those proceedings to occur.
“Given the variability of the extradition process from country to country, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs generally does not make estimates [regarding extradition],” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Robert Capers said in an April 11 letter to the court.
There are also eight other defendants who have been charged in the corruption case, but about whom “no public information is available,” prosecutors said. It was unknown whether any of these defendants were even subject to extradition proceedings in their own countries.
The trial date delay should not affect the pending guilty pleas of other FIFA defendants, including Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb [due to plea June 3] and Honduran national Alfredo Hawit [Oct. 7].
The other FIFA defendant with a Cayman connection, U.K. national Costas Takkas, has been extradited to the U.S. and pleaded not guilty to racketeering and wire fraud charges against him in March. It is not clear whether Takkas’s case will proceed to trial along with the other defendants.