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HAMMOND — The public corruption trial of Portage Mayor James Snyder has been pushed back to June 4.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John E. Martin granted a continuance Thursday for both Snyder and his co-defendant, John Cortina.

Snyder's attorneys requested the continuance Nov. 27, and Cortina's request followed a few days later. Federal prosecutors did not object to the request.

Snyder and his co-defendant Cortina had been set to go to trial on Jan. 29. The trial originally had been set for January 2017, but Snyder and Cortina have received several continuances. The final pretrial conference is now set for May 18, and the trial will begin at 11:30 a.m. on June 4.

Snyder was indicted on Nov. 18, 2016, on two counts of bribery and one count of tax evasion. Cortina also was indicted at the same time on one count of bribery.

Snyder is alleged to have corruptly solicited and received two checks totaling $12,000 from Cortina in exchange for a towing contract in the city of Portage, according to information from the U.S. Department of Justice. Cortina is charged with corruptly offering those checks to Snyder.

Snyder also is charged with a second violation of the federal bribery statute. That count alleges that between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 10, 2014, Snyder corruptly solicited and agreed to accept a bank check in the amount of $13,000 in connection with Board of Works contracts, a Redevelopment Commission project and other considerations, according to federal documents.

The final charge against Snyder alleges obstruction of internal revenue laws. This count alleges a scheme, undertaken by Snyder between January 2010 and April 2013, to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service’s collection of personal taxes he owed and payroll taxes owed by his mortgage business.


Porter County reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for more than 38 years, including 23 years with The Times. She covers municipal and school government in Valparaiso and Portage.