St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson and four former employees could be closer to trial, but it still appears to be at least eight months away.
At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner said technical issues had been resolved and hundreds of thousands of documents, emails and other evidence were now in the hands of defense attorneys.
So Warner said he was inclined to set a trial date that would be about eight months away, but would not decide until budgets have been approved for the court-appointed attorneys representing Johnson and the four others.
Johnson’s court-appointed lawyer, Ron Yengich, told Warner that eight months would not be enough time to prepare for a trial.
The five defendants face 86 charges, mostly related to alleged bank fraud linked to opening merchant accounts at banks to process credit and debit cards from customers of their online sales operation known as I Works. All have pleaded not guilty.
Marcus Mumford, the attorney for former I Works executive Scott Leavitt, said he was concerned that there might be more evidence in the hands of a receiver who took over the company after federal regulators sued it in 2010.
"There may still be an issue regarding the scope of the available material," Mumford said, without providing details.
Warner said he was satisfied with the amount of evidence turned over to defense attorneys but invited them to file motions for specific items they believe were left out.
Johnson has been at the center of a scandal that led to last year’s resignation of Utah Attorney General John Swallow.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.