NEW YORK: Five of the defendants in the world football corruption case in the United States are awaiting a final ruling on their claim for separate trials writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Brazilian Jose Maria Marin, Paraguayan Juan Angel Napout, Peruvian Manuel Burga, Guatemalan Hector Trujillo and Anglo-Greek Costas Takkas believe their cases could be harmed by cross-information.
Charles Stillman, representing Marin, said he was worried jurors would sit through weeks of trial and hear “a mountain of evidence” unrelated to the former CBF president and consider him guilty by imnplication.
Assistant US Attorney Kristin Mace said the prosecution needed to keep the five together to justify its case of conspiracy and corruption. Convincing jurors meant showing patterns and relationships, she said. Mace added: “This was a way of life.”
Judge Pamela Chen refused to rule immediately on a change of date for the trial which is due to start on November 6 and will consider what she described as “an inevitably complex case [with] millions of pages of evidence.”
However she left the door open for a separation into two trials: on the one hand, those accused of conspiracy in South American confederation CONMEBOL (Marin, Napout and Burga) and on the others those concerned in central and North American confederation CONCACAF (Takkas and Trujillo).
The FIFAGate indictment runs to 236 pages in outlining 92 crimes in 15 corruption schemes over 24 years concerning more than $200m in bribes and kickbacks. Prosecutors are preparing 350,000 documents to be entered in evidence.
Of the 40 accused, so far 20 have pleaded guilty with sentencing due to start on April 29.