Lakin's lawyer asks to continue Sept. 3 plea hearing

Ann Knef Aug. 28, 2008, 1:18am

Lakin (left) and Rosenblum

Tom Lakin's attorney has asked to continue a plea hearing that had been scheduled for Sept. 3 in Benton until Sept. 5.

"Unfortunately, both counsel of record will be unavailable for the change of plea hearing date," Scott Rosenblum wrote in a motion filed Wednesday in federal court in East St. Louis.

A binding plea agreement entered Aug. 18 calls for Lakin, who was indicted in April 2007 for cocaine possession and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes, to serve a six year sentence for possession with the intent to deliver cocaine, distributing cocaine to a person under 21 and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Under the deal proposed, prosecutors would drop sex charges that could carry a life sentence.

Rosenblum explained in his motion for continuance that he's scheduled for another trial in Miller County, Mo., in a case in which plea negotiations had recently collapsed, "thus forcing a trial on this matter for September 2-4."

"The other counsel of record, Mr. (Gilbert) Sison will also be unavailable because his wife is scheduled to undergo a medical procedure sometime that week," Rosenblum wrote.

Rosenblum also informed the court, "for the sake of scheduling efficiency," that he would be involved in trial in another matter scheduled to begin Sept. 22 in federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri.

"The aforementioned case is expected to go to trial and last a
week and a half," he wrote.

According to Rosenblum's motion, federal prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark, has no objections to Rosenblum's continuance request.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert had not yet entered a ruling on Rosenblum's request as of Thursday morning.

The latest plea agreement signed by Lakin on July 31 did not contain language entered in a plea agreement he signed on Feb. 24, "...Defendant understands that this agreement requires him to testify concerning all criminal activity about which he knows, whether or not Defendant was himself involved."

It also stated, "Defendant further agrees that his obligation to cooperate includes providing information concerning his knowledge of criminal activity in the Southern District of Illinois, and elsewhere, including, but not limited to, all federal districts."

But the newer agreement states, "Defendant will not be prosecuted in the Southern District of Illinois for any other crimes now known to the Government."

It also would require Lakin to pay $180,000 in restitution to an Illinois advocacy group, rather than a Missouri entity, which had been proposed in the earlier deal.

He would also pay a $20,000 fine and forfeit $325,000.

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