Politics

Detroit Councilman Gabe Leland's Corruption Trial Delayed -- Could a Deal Be in the Works?


February 18, 2020, 10:20 PM by  Allan Lengel

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The federal public corruption trial of Detroit Councilman Gabe Leland is delayed for a sixth time while prosecutors and the defense "determine whether a resolution" to the case is possible, a federal court filing Tuesday said. The trial date is set for May 18.

On April 20, four weeks before the new trial date of May 18, a "final pretrial conference/plea hearing" is scheduled before U.S. District Judge Judith E. Levy. 

The Detroit News first reported on this.

Leland, who was indicted in October 2018, is currently scheduled to go to trial, along with Elisa Grubbs, a paid consultant, who is charged with helping collect an alleged bribe for Leland. The councilman is accused of taking a $15,000 bribe and free car repairs from Detroit businessman Bob Carmack, who had a land issue before the council. 

The delay comes as defense attorneys review materials provided by the government and detemine whether to file pretrial motions and prepare for trial, according to the government court document. The document also said the "parties have discussed a resolution of the matter," which generally means a plea bargain of some sort. 

Additionally, the delay is due to scheduling issues involving witnesses in the case and evidence gathered by the government it may need to share with the defense. 

Leland is set to go to trial, along with Elisa Grubbs, a paid consultant, who is charged with helping collect an alleged bribe for Leland.

Attorney Steven Fishman declined comment. 

Attorney Steven Scharg, who represents Leland's co-defedant, Grubbs, said he has not discussed a plea in the case. "No one has contacted me about working out a plea," he said. 

A prosecutor could not be reached for comment lateTuesday afternoon. 

Carmack, a key prosecution witnesss, has a string of legal problems that could present credibility issues. He awaits trials in state court for allegations of drunken driving and another for alleged fraud involving a land deal in Detroit. 

He's also aggressively gone out of his way to embarrass Mayor Mike Duggan by hiring a detective to trail the mayor to get dirt on his personal life. Carmack has flown banners with disparaging remarks about the mayor. 



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