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Bharara seeks 'efficient and fair' timetable for Buffalo Billion case

ALBANY – U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara today asked a federal judge to temporarily hold in abeyance a new defense motion to dismiss corruption charges against three former LPCiminelli executives.

Two days after lawyers for the three  defendants asked that the criminal charges against them be dropped – or that the future trial be held in Buffalo and not Manhattan – Bharara asked U.S. Southern District Court Judge Valerie Caproni to put off consideration of the motion until April 3.

Lawyers for Louis Ciminelli, Kevin Schuler and Michael Laipple this week asked Caproni for an expedited hearing to consider their motion to toss the case or change the trial’s location to Buffalo.

Butit would be “more efficient and fair” if the matter was made part of the scheduling of other expected pre-trial motions when the sides are due to appear before the judge again on April 3, Bharara said in a letter to the judge .

Bharara told the judge that lawyers for the three Buffalo Billion defendants acknowledged they could be making other pre-trial motions beyond this week's motion to dismiss the case or move its trial location from Manhattan to Buffalo.

Further, he said he believes other defendants charged on the same day last year could be making similar requests to get their criminal cases tossed out or re-assigned to courts in upstate.

Setting one date – April 3 – for all the pre-trial motions to go before the judge “would conserve judicial resources, avoid gamesmanship and ensure a fair process for the consideration of all defense motions,’’ Bharara wrote in the letter to the judge.

Bharara’s office last year brought criminal charges of alleged bid-rigging hit for projects in Buffalo related to at the SolarCity and other contracts in Syracuse and Albany. One of the other cases involves a proposed downstate power plant. Among the other defendants are former SUNY Polytechnic Institute head Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, who Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped to lead various upstate projects, including the Buffalo Billion, and Joseph Percoco, a longtime friend and advisor of the governor.

If his request is denied, Bharara told the judge his office is ready to respond to the motion by the Buffalo Billion defendants within 30 days.

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