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Sheriff's motion to stall trial is denied

Presgraves to face several corruption charges March 16

By Sally Voth -- Daily Staff Writer

HARRISONBURG -- A U.S. District Court judge has shot down Page County Sheriff Daniel W. "Danny" Presgraves' request to delay his trial on numerous corruption charges.

Presgraves' attorney, David Barger, filed a motion to continue the trial, which is scheduled to start March 16.

It says that more time is needed to receive and review all of the evidence, as well as to prepare a defense in a case that is "highly complex and voluminous."

The 46-year-old sheriff was indicted in October on 22 counts: violating federal racketeering laws, money laundering, two counts of mail fraud, two counts of conspiracy related to a cockfighting operation, two counts of making false statements to federal investigators, four counts of obstructing a federal grand jury investigation, six counts of obstructing a law enforcement investigation and four counts of violating the civil rights of female subordinates working for the Page County Sheriff's Office.

Barger's motion says that the indictment alleges 27 separate "schemes or courses of conduct."

Two defendants charged in relation to the cockfighting investigation alone took nine and 15 months respectively, to finish their cases, it says.

On Friday, District Judge Glen E. Conrad turned down the request, citing the fact that while U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler allowed Presgraves to remain sheriff but not carry out his duties, the sheriff is still collecting his salary.

"The court finds and concludes that delay of the disposition of this matter would impose an undue burden on the taxpayers such as to constitute an abuse of the court's discretion," the order says. "Furthermore, the court notes that the indictment has been pending since October 22, 2008, and that the defendant was aware of the investigation and anticipated the indictment many months prior thereto."

Conrad hasn't ruled on a government motion to move the trial to Roanoke, a move opposed by the defense.

Contact Sally Voth at svoth@nvdaily.com

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