Peel's trial set June 12 before his former law partner

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 13, 2006, 11:21am

Gary Peel

Former Lakin Law Firm attorney Gary Evan Peel pled "emphatically not guilty" to charges of bankruptcy fraud, obstruction of justice and two counts of child pornography in federal court Thursday as his children, ex-wife, and current wife and family sat in and exchanged verbal attacks during recess.

Peel's trial, set June 12, will be litigated before his former law partner, District Judge David Herndon.

"I do not intend to recuse myself," Herndon said.

Herndon explained that Peel was an associate at the firm Lakin, Herndon & Peel between 1982 and 1985 while he was the managing partner.

Herndon said he does not perceive a conflict: he does not recuse himself from Lakin cases that come before him now.

At the arraignment, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Wilkerson set Peel's bond at $10,000. But Peel did not have to pay for his bond. He was released on an unsecured signature bond.

Wilkerson told Peel if he violated the bond, he would face a separate charge and a potential 10 years in prison.

Peel originally sought former appellate judge Clyde Kuehn as counsel, but claimed his financial circumstances required he seek a court appointed attorney.

His public defender, Julie Morian, asked Wilkerson not to read the indictment before Peel pled not guilty.

Peel was read his Miranda rights by Wilkerson.

After the hearing, Peel declined comment.

"I really can't comment right now, but thanks for coming out today," he said.

Peel was ordered not to come into contact with any potential witnesses, victims, or other potential defendants.

But Wilkerson did give Peel permission to deal with his pending bankruptcy matter. Peel had sought to dismiss his case; however bankruptcy trustees have filed oppositions to the dismissal of the suit.

After the hearing, Deborah Pontious Peel -- Gary Peel's current wife -- had vitriolic words for her husband's children and ex-wife.

Talking to Peel's daughters she said, "You are trash, your mother is a thief and a (expletive)."

Later, she said that she was upset and lost her temper in the courtroom because Peel's daughter called her names first.

She also noted that this whole situation is because they wanted to get the most of Gary's money as they possibly could.

Count I of Peel's indictment for bankruptcy fraud states, "Between on or about January 20, 2006, and on or about January 31, 2006, within St. Clair County, within the Southern District of Illinois, Gary Peel, defendant herein, did knowingly and fraudulently give, offer, receive, and attempt to obtain money and property, remuneration, compensation, reward, advantage, and promise thereof for acting and forbearing to act in a case under Title 11; all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 152(6)."

Count II, the obstruction of justice county states that Peel did knowingly and corruptly attempt to obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding; all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c)(2).

Counts III and IV claim Peel knowingly possessed child porn and placed it in his ex-wife's mailbox and also had copies of the photographs in his possession.

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