AKWESASNE The federal trial of five men accused of multiple offenses in connection with a non-tribal gambling parlor on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation has been pushed back to at least May, while a defense attorney on Wednesday petitioned the court for the pretrial release of one defendant.
Akwesasne residents James Gray, William Roger Jock, Anthony Laughing Sr. and Thomas Angus Square, together with Joseph Hight of Atlanta, face charges following a multiagency raid on the shuttered Three Feathers Casino in December.
The federal government alleges the men conducted an illegal gambling business and unlawfully possessed gambling devices in Indian country in connection with operation of the casino, which opened in July 2011. The Route 37 casino apparently shut down in September, but investigators say it continued to draw power from National Grid through an illegal electrical connection that was severed during the Dec. 18 raid.
A trial had been set for Feb. 11 in Utica, but U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd earlier this month signed an order moving the trial date to May 13 to give defense and prosecution adequate time to prepare for the proceeding.
On Wednesday, meanwhile, Manhattan attorney Scott Michael Moore filed a motion to modify the conditions of pretrial release set for Mr. Square, who has been held at the Clinton County Jail, Plattsburgh, since his arrest Dec. 18.
According to Mr. Moores motion, a Dec. 21 request to modify the terms was denied Dec. 31 by U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Kudrle.
Mr. Moore wrote that the defendants valuation of $500,000 of his real estate was the primary basis for the $50,000 cash bail set for his release. Information subsequently provided by Mr. Squares wife, Jean, suggested that even if the property could be mortgaged, the value would be more in the area of $60,000, Mr. Moore wrote. He also argued that Mr. Square poses a low likelihood of flight because of his position to fulfill his traditional governmental duties as the Wolf Clan Mens Council representative to the tribal longhouse.
The attorney concluded by asking the court to consider releasing Mr. Square on his own recognizance or on unsecured appearance bond.
Of the other defendants, Mr. Laughing was released on a $50,000 bond with electronic monitoring, while Mr. Jock and Mr. Hight were released on a $10,000 bond each. Documents filed Feb. 19 indicated Mr. Gray was still a fugitive.