Warnock trial may be headed to Fall

Warnock trial may be headed to Fall


Embattled former Madison County Engineer Rudy Warnock is seeking a ninth continuance in his federal bribery and wire fraud trial, asking U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate to schedule a September date due to conflicts with other trials and events over the summer. 

Defense attorney John Colette requested a continuance on May 23, citing upcoming trials in June and July as conflicts. Colette also pointed to a trip by co-counsel Thomas Spina of Alabama, who will be in Europe from mid-July to early August for the Airport Board Authority. He added that the assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case has a trial scheduled for October. 

“Anytime in September is available (for all of us),” Colette’s motion stated. 

According to the request, there were no objections by the U.S. Attorney’s office to the motion. 

Colette’s motion came after a status conference that was scheduled for last Wednesday, and later continued to Thursday, before being cancelled altogether. 

During the Wednesday status conference, Judge Wingate brought up an email by Cleveland Anderson, former chair of Canton Municipal Utilities and a defendant in the trial, who wanted to be present for the status conference but was unavailable due to medical appointments. 

Wingate said Anderson, who is facing bribery charges, had a right to be present, and for that reason, he would be continuing the case. He also brought up another email, which he said he would enter on the record under seal, which would be discussed. The status hearing was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon but was ultimately canceled. 

On Wednesday, Judge Wingate told all the attorneys to bring their calendars on Thursday so they could select a trial date, initially intimating it would be in June or July. 

Spina said last Wednesday they were looking at an October date. 

“I didn’t know why…we skipped over July and the end of June,” Wingate told the attorneys. “I didn’t hear an explanation on that, why we’re going so far down as October. Be prepared to discuss that with me.”

As of press time, Judge Wingate had not ruled on the motion for a continuance. 

Warnock and Anderson were scheduled to stand trial on June 3, after receiving an earlier continuance in April. 

Earlier this year, two Washington D.C. prosecutors with the Public Integrity Division of the U.S. Department of Justice were assigned to this case.

Indictments against Warnock, Anderson and former Canton aldermen Eric Gilkey and Andrew Grant were unsealed in November 2022. 

Warnock was indicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of wire fraud.

Warnock pleaded not guilty at his initial appearance. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Gilkey and Grant have both pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, presumably following the conclusion of the criminal trials of Warnock and Anderson.

Anderson initially pleaded guilty, but his plea was rejected by the court after telling the judge he didn’t do anything wrong. 

According to the indictments, Warnock is alleged to have gifted cash, football tickets, and concert tickets to the three in exchange for engineering contracts with the city of Canton and CMU.

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