PHOENIX, FEB. 22 -- A judge ordered today that the start of Gov. Evan Mecham's trial on criminal charges of concealing a $350,000 campaign loan be delayed until March 22.
Judge Michael Ryan of Maricopa County Superior Court ordered the delay from the original March 9 trial date to allow both sides time for handling pretrial motions and answers.
The Republican governor is charged with six counts of fraud, perjury and filing false documents in connection with the campaign loan, made in October 1986 by Tempe developer and attorney Barry Wolfson. Willard Mecham, his brother's 1986 campaign treasurer, faces three similar counts.
Mecham also faces an impeachment trial by the state Senate starting Monday and a recall election May 17.
Assistant Attorney General Michael Cudahy said he needs more time to reply to defense motions in the criminal case. Cudahy also said attorneys for the Mechams have not made required pretrial disclosures, including lists of witnesses and exhibits.
The governor's lawyers were given until March 7 to file a motion seeking return of the charges to the grand jury for a new finding that enough evidence exists to support the charges.
Ryan today also scheduled a March 2 hearing on several motions that were filed last week by Willard Mecham's lawyer, Michael Scott, and joined today by defense attorney Murray Miller on behalf of the governor, who was impeached earlier this month by the state House.