Lawyers for Marvin Mandel asked today for another postponement in the Maryland governor's political corruption case, claiming he needs at least another month recuperation to be healthy enough to stand trial.
Arnold M. Weiner, Mandel's chief attorney, asked that the trial, now set for May 11, be delayed at least until June 6 to "permit the presently anticipated period of recovery to continue and to allow the court to have the benefit of further evaluation" of the governor's health before a new trial is scheduled.
U.S. District Judge Robert Love Taylor set a hearing for next Tuesday to hear arguments on the governor's motion. He also signed a request for Mandel to appear at the hearing with his attorneys, according to federal court clerk Paul Schlitz.
It would be the first public appearance Mandel, 57, has made since he was taken to Prince George's General Hospital April 5, eight days before the originally scheduled start of his second corruption trial.
Mandel was released from Johns Hopkins University Hospital last Wednesday after being hospitalized for more than three weeks with an ailment doctors have tentatively diagnosed as a small stroke.
The governor's symptoms included fatigue, temporary loss of memory and weakness in his right hand, right foot and right side.
He has retained most of his powers as governor during his illness and is said to spend several hours each day his wife, Jeanne, have spent the last three days on the Chesapeake Bay aboard the state yacht.
When Mandel was released from the hospital, doctors said he needed a one month period of rest at home during which he should "avoid stress and stay away from his usual environment." They recommended he undergo further tests at the end of the month. The doctors who examined Mandel at Johns Hopkins and at Prince George's General, where he was hospitalized 16 days, were unable to determine the exact nature of the governor's illness or its cause. However, they all agreed that his ailment was a genuine one and accepted the working hypothesis that he had suffered a minor stroke.
A full report on tests performed on the governor at Hopkins by one of his physicians, Dr. George B. Udarheyi, and five other doctors on the medical school's faculty was sent to Taylor, Knoxville, Tenn., judge, and two independent neurologists the judge appointed to examine Mandel. The government, Weiner said in his motion, would "welcome further examination by either or both the court-appointed experts."
Taylor, the third judge to preside in the controversial case, agreed on April 13 to a one-month delay in the trial after hearing two days of medical testimony from six doctors. Weiner has asked for a two-month delays at the time.
Weiner motion today added little new information about the governor's ailment. It said Mandel's condition is improving, but quoted doctors as warning that "an underlying pathological process," causing further damage to the governor's health, could be taking place without their knowledge. It stressed that all six doctors who examined Mandel at Johns Hopkins agreed Mandel should undergo further tests after his one-month recovery period.
Criminal defendants, Weiner said in the motion, have been required to stand trial in the past after recovering from serious illness. But, he added, he could not find record of a single case "in which a defendant was required to go to trial . . . two weeks after he was discharged from the hospital after suffering a stroke and while he was still in the midst of his recovery."
He asked that the trial be rescheduled after the results of further testing at the end of the recovery period, or June 6.
The trial of Mandel and five codefenants has been marked by a series of delays and false starts since indictments were first handed down in November, 1975. The delays include a mistrial that was declared Dec. 7 after two tampering attempts.
The governor and his codefendants are charged with mail fraud, bribery and violation of federal racketeering laws.