HAMMOND | A federal magistrate has postponed the public corruption trial of Lake County Surveyor George Van Til to give him more time to prepare his defense.
Van Til pleaded not guilty in Hammond federal court to six counts of wire fraud and two counts of obstruction of justice.
Defense attorney Scott King earlier asked to postpone the trial, which was scheduled to begin Monday. Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry agreed to give both King and federal prosecutors more time to develop their evidence. The new trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.
Cherry said he also is giving the defense more time to convince him the government should immediately disclose anything potential witnesses have previously said that federal prosecutors could use to incriminate Van Til.
Cherry earlier denied the defense request on grounds such material cannot be used in potential plea negotiations.
The government alleges Van Til ordered an employee on his public payroll to work on his re-election in November 2011 and later directed another employee to remove a computer hard drive to hide any campaign work done on the county system. Van Til won re-election last year to his fifth term in office.