Former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Raymond Chan has asked a federal judge to declare a mistrial in his federal corruption case, saying his attorney is no longer medically capable of representing him in the case.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter declined to grant the request on Thursday, saying he couldn’t make a decision without more details about the illness of Chan’s attorney, Harland Braun, whose hospitalization on March 2 interrupted the trial.
Walter ordered Chan’s legal team to file sealed medical documents by Sunday and return to court on Wednesday to discuss the case further.
Chan, who pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, racketeering, wire fraud and misrepresentation, said in a court filing that Braun, 80, would not be able to represent him “for at least several months. “.
“To attempt to proceed with the trial when Harland Braun is physically unable to participate in my defense would be to try me without my sole counsel, without counsel of my choice, and without the effective assistance of counsel,” Chan said in A declaration. .
Braun has been Chan’s attorney for about four years. He fell ill just over a week into the trial, prompting the judge to order a three-week delay for witness testimony.
Chan, in his filing, said his other attorney, Brendan Pratt, served on the defense team only in a “limited support and observational learning role.” Pratt “has no trial experience and has never practiced in federal or state court without supervision,” Chan wrote.
Pratt lacks the legal expertise to protect Chan’s constitutional rights, in a case that could result in “decades of imprisonment”, he said.
After Braun fell ill, he was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. Braun suffered from an infection that affected his organs, according to another attorney for Chan, and his recovery is expected to take at least three months.
At a previous hearing, Walter said he was opposed to a mistrial, at one point suggesting that Pratt familiarize himself with the trial exhibits. He also told lawyers he would do everything in his power to keep the case on track.
The prosecution has four witnesses remaining in the case, which is expected to be the latest trial to emerge from a federal investigation that uncovered a town hall extortion ring led by former LA council member Jose Huizar.
In January, Huizar pleaded guilty to racketeering and tax evasion, admitting he rattled real estate developers for more than $1.5 million in kickbacks on downtown construction projects.