HAMMOND | A federal judge has denied Lake County Surveyor George Van Til's request for an advance look at witness statements in his criminal corruption case.
Hammond federal Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry on Monday denied Van Til's request for an early look at witness lists and their testimonies, saying Van Til had not provided precedent suggesting such statements are necessary during plea negotiations.
In his initial request, Van Til attorney Scott King said Van Til was not necessarily seeking a plea agreement, but rather that the witness statements were necessary to help make that decision, Hammond federal court records show.
Van Til is accused of using county employees — on county time and using county facilities — to do political campaign work. He also is charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly paying an employee to switch out the hard drive of a surveyor's office computer in an effort to conceal evidence.
King filed an objection to Cherry's order, saying it denies Van Til's right to effective legal counsel. King also requested to delay a pre-trial meeting set for this week and a trial scheduled for July 29.