BAL HARBOUR, FLA., FEB. 16 -- Teamster union President Jackie Presser was ordered today to undergo a physical examination by government doctors to determine his ability to stand trial on federal racketeering charges.
U.S. District Court Judge George White in Cleveland ordered the ailing Presser to travel east to
Washington Feb. 26 for an examination at Georgetown University Hospital.
White also rescheduled Presser's trial for July 12.
Presser, who is suffering from lung cancer, had been scheduled to go to trial today, but the trial was postponed after he was hospitalized twice in the last two months.
Earlier this month, government lawyers interviewed Presser's doctors in Phoenix and then determined that they wanted him examined by their own doctor.
The prosecutors did not reveal the name of the doctor who will examine Presser except to say that he is a nationally recognized endocrinologist at Georgetown University Medical School.
Presser and two union associates, Anthony Hughes and Harold Friedman, have been charged with setting up phantom employees at Presser's home local union in Cleveland to pad the union payroll. Presser has argued that he did this with the approval of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for whom he was serving as an informant at the time.
White said yesterday that if Presser cannot stand trial July 12 his case will be separated from those of Hughes and Friedman and he will be tried later.
Presser's lawyers requested yesterday that the examination be put off at least another 20 days to give them time to file more motions in the case. They also said they do not want Presser examined now because doctors have had difficulty taking blood from him.
White ordered the examination, saying government doctors will have to deal with the problem of drawing blood.
Presser had been scheduled to attend the annual midwinter meeting of the AFL-CIO executive council here this week but wrote federation President Lane Kirkland to say he is unable to attend because of health reasons. This would have been Presser's first meeting as a member of the federation's policy board since the Teamsters reaffiliated with the AFL-CIO Nov. 1.