Maddox freezes Peel's suit pending criminal case proceedings

Steve Korris May 11, 2006, 2:27am

Attorney Gary Peel's pending criminal trial has frozen his bankruptcy petition and the privacy invasion suit he filed against former wife Deborah J. Peel and the Record.

Madison County Circuit Judge Lola Maddox on April 27 struck a May 24 management conference on Peel's claim that former wife Deborah J. Peel, son David Peel, the Record and reporter Steve Korris published private facts about him.

Peel sued in January, after the Record quoted his examination by counsel for a bankruptcy trustee.

Maddox wrote April 27 that proceedings might violate a bond requirement in Gary Peel's criminal case prohibiting contact with his ex-wife and children. She also noted potential concern that Peel lacked authority to pursue his suit due to his pending matters, suspending proceedings pending receipt of some indication that the criminal and bankruptcy cases weren't a legal obstacle.

On May 5, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gerald Fines called off a hearing in Gary Peel's case and continued the case until after the criminal trial.

Fines asked Gary Peel's bankruptcy attorney, Steven Stanton, for the status of the criminal case. Stanton said it might come to trial this summer.

Stanton told Fines Peel faced three criminal charges – obstruction of justice, bankruptcy fraud and possession of child pornography.

"He was indicted for bankruptcy fraud?" Fines asked.

"Yes," said Stanton.

Fines asked how long the bankruptcy trial would last. Stanton said two days.

Fines said he would start over with a new briefing schedule after the criminal trial.

"That's it," he said. "We'll see what happens."

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