Sentencing delayed in Md. bomb case for testimony on alleged plot to kill Obama
Friday, January 8, 2010
A former close friend of Collin McKenzie-Gude's will be required to testify about an alleged plot to try to kill President Obama, a judge ruled Thursday, delaying McKenzie-Gude's sentencing on a charge of storing bomb-making materials in his bedroom closets.
U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte had been set to sentence McKenzie-Gude, but the hearing Thursday got bogged down on procedural issues. The big one: McKenzie-Gude's attorney, Steven Kupferberg, wanted to call to the stand the key witness, Patrick Yevsukov.
Kupferberg, who has long said that Yevsukov gave inconsistent statements to investigators, recently called the alleged plot implicating his client a "fairy tale." Kupferberg has said McKenzie-Gude deserves to be released from jail, where he has been since his arrest in 2008. Prosecutors want him to spend at least 6 1/2 more years behind bars.
On Thursday, Yevsukov's attorney, Rene Sandler, invoking his right against self-incrimination, tried to block her client from having to testify to what could be a broad array of questions.
But Messitte ruled that Yevsukov's earlier immunity agreement with prosecutors afforded him protection. "He's basically talked about everything in the case" to authorities, Messitte said.
Messitte set the hearing for Jan. 14 and 15. He wanted to give Kupferberg time to go over the reports of Yevsukov's statements to authorities.
Yevsukov also has pleaded guilty to two counts of the manufacture or possession of a destructive device. He is to be sentenced soon.
McKenzie-Gude also has pleaded guilty in a separate state court to a charge of attempted carjacking. He is to be sentenced for that later.