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Robert Battle

East Chicago City Councilman Robert Battle was sworn in as 3rd District council member while in a Porter County Jail cell.

HAMMOND — Former East Chicago Councilman Robert “Coop” Battle is seeking more time to prepare for a trial on federal murder and drug trafficking charges.

An attorney for Battle on Thursday filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking to delay a trial until sometime after Feb. 1.

Battle pleaded not guilty in November to charges alleging he fatally shot Reimundo Camarillo Jr., 31, of East Chicago, once in the back Oct. 12, 2015, and was dealing cocaine.

Battle, though his former attorney Walter Alvarez, told local, state and federal law enforcement officials he shot Camarillo in self-defense after Camarillo pulled a knife, according to court records.

Police found Camarillo facedown in an alley near Battle’s home and blood on door handles at Battle’s home in the 4200 block of Euclid Avenue, according to court records.

Battle’s current attorney, Jack Friedlander, wrote in the motion filed Tuesday Assistant U.S. Attorney David Nozick isn’t opposed to the trial delay.The East Chicago City Council unanimously voted May 16 to remove Battle, who was re-elected to the 3rd District seat while he was being held without bond on the criminal charges. At the time, officials said Battle had not attended a council meeting since Oct. 12, 2015.

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.