HAMMOND | East Chicago Mayor George Pabey will stand trial in July if his case proceeds on schedule.
Prosecutors and lawyers for Pabey and co-defendant Jose A. Camacho agreed in Hammond federal court Thursday to set the trial's start for July 12. Federal prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich they expect to spend a week laying out their case.
Camacho's lawyer, William Padula, and Pabey's lawyer, Scott King, both said they would need two days to present their arguments. Rodovich said the full trial should take about two weeks.
Padula and King said they think their clients' cases are "defensible." The lawyers said Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Nozick and Gary Bell have been cooperative and forthcoming since the indictment in February. King, a former Gary mayor, said Pabey looks forward to offering his response to the accusations.
"We want to take the case to trial," King said.
Pabey, 59, and Camacho, 52, attended Thursday's hearing, but neither man spoke. Pabey said almost nothing audible in the presence of prosecutors and a reporter. Before Rodovich convened the hearing, Pabey laughed along as King and Padula traded stories of long-past trials and local political characters.
One of Pabey's attorneys, Fred Work, did not attend because he is on vacation.
Rodovich set a pretrial procedural conference for June 4.
Pabey and Camacho were charged in a grand jury indictment in February with conspiring to embezzle city money and illegally use city workers to remodel the house Pabey bought with his daughter in Gary's Miller Beach neighborhood in December 2008. Camacho, a former engineering department division supervisor who now works at the city's marina, also is charged with trying to persuade other city workers to lie to federal investigators about work the laborers allegedly did on the house while they were on the clock for the city.
Through a spokesman, Pabey has denied any wrongdoing and said he does not plan to resign from his mayoral post.