The trial for two men accused of being involved in Section 8 housing fraud may be delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former GHURA attorney Mark Smith and his friend, Glenn Wong, may not face trial until October 6th due to social distancing concerns posed by the ongoing pandemic.
Federal Judge Ramona Manglona suggested that today’s hearing be continued until Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood issues more COVID-19 guidance by next week.
Defense attorneys Mike Phillips and Curtis Van de Veld claimed that an October trial would not be feasible and requested that the trial be delayed by at least 8 weeks. They cited responses to a COVID-19 survey which stated that 87 percent of the case’s potential jurors would not be comfortable fulfilling their duties during the ongoing pandemic.
Van de Veld said that selecting a jury based on this limited pool would hamper the ability for Wong to fully choose a jury of his peers. Smith also waived his right to a speedy trial to ensure no violation of the speedy trial act.
The government says they are ready to commence trial in October or any other date and has stated they intend to call at least five witnesses for the trial.
Manglona has taken the matter under advisement. August 21st is the next status conference.