U.S. District Court Judge Oliver C. Gasch suggested yesterday that some of the charges against Rep. Daniel J. Flood (D-Pa.), who stands accused of bribery, perjury and conspiracy, be tried separately in order to shorten the proceedings.
Gasch brought up the suggestion, which he said he first made to prosecuting and defence lawyers on Monday in a telephone conference, during a brief hearing on the status of the case. It is scheduled for a new trial on June 4. Flood's first trial which took three weeks, ended in a mistrial in February when the jury could not agree.
Severing the charges against Flood - which include seven counts of bribery, three counts of perjury and one count of conspiracy - could pose problems for the prosecution in retrying its case. Some evidence that was allowed in the first trial might not be if the conspiracy count is not included.
Gasch asked the attorneys, Mark Tuohey for the government and Axel Kleiboemer for Flood, to discuss the possibility of severing the counts and report back to him.
Kleiboermer told Gasch that Flood had returned to Georgetown University Hospital for tests on a variey of problems affecting his back, knee and throat. Kleiboemer said the preliminary report from Flood's physicians is that the congressman's problems are "manageable' if he is allowed periodic recesses and is not required to sit too long.
Gasch estimated that Flood's second trial would take six weeks to two months because testimony from the original trial would be brought up for comparison.
The judge indicated that he hoped to attend a late-June meeting of a committee charged with approving federal public defender budgets, and that a lengthy trial would force him to miss it. Gasch did not say, however, that he was insisting that the counts be severed and tried separately.