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Trial of utility officials indicted in Kentucky Derby trips postponed to October

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The pending trial of five former utility cooperative officials indicted for their roles in planning lavish trips to the Kentucky Derby and a West Virginia golf resort has been pushed back to October, a U.S District court judge ordered.

Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer on Monday set an amended trial schedule following a submission last week by attorneys for the U.S. government and the five defendants seeking an extension of the trial start date. The trial originally had been scheduled to start in February, but during a court hearing Jan. 3, the parties asked for an extension of time to sort out multiple requests for large volumes of documents in a more accessible format and for new documents.

In his ruling Monday, Meyer ordered that the government provide its updated list of witnesses and trial exhibits by Sept. 11, and the parties to file any pretrial memoranda or motions by Sept. 16. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 24, and jury selection for Oct. 1, with the trial to begin on Oct. 5.

In the case, former Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative CEO Drew Rankin, former CMEEC Chief Financial Officer Edward Pryor, former Norwich Public Utilities General Manager John Bilda and former CMEEC board members James Sullivan of Norwich and Edward DeMuzzio of Groton face charges of conspiracy and theft from a program receiving federal funds.

CMEEC hosted lavish trips to the Kentucky Derby from 2013 through 2016 for dozens of CMEEC top staff, board members, family members and invited guests.

c.bessette@theday.com

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