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Portage Mayor James Snyder

Portage Mayor James Snyder delivering a State of the City address.

HAMMOND — While Portage Mayor James Snyder's public corruption case isn't scheduled to begin until January, the federal judge hearing the case ruled this week on some of the evidence that will and will not be included in the trial.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen ruled this week on both Snyder's and federal prosecutors' motions in limine filed last month. The motions asked for certain evidence to be excluded from trial.

"Vulgar" language may or may not be part of the evidence in court in January.

Snyder had asked that undercover recordings of his co-defendant John Cortina be redacted because of Cortina's use of vulgar language. Snyder said he feared the jury would be prejudiced by the offensive language. Prosecutors said they would keep it out unless it is relative to the issues in the case. They also agreed to provide Snyder with experts of the recordings in case he wanted to object.

Van Bokkelen agreed with the arrangement, ordering prosecutors to have the tapes to Snyder by Nov. 30 for review.

Prosecutors wanted to exclude any mention of Thomas Kirsch during testimony. Kirsch, the current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, was hired by Snyder as his attorney in 2014 and remained in the job until taking the new position last year.

Snyder can use Kirsch's name, wrote Van Bokkelen, as long as it is not gratuitous, "akin to name dropping." 

Of the 18 items in the two motions the judge was asked to rule on, he sided with Snyder on some, prosecutors on others, took several others under advisement and some requests, Van Bokkelen deemed "overbroad."

Evidence will be introduced regarding allegations that Snyder failed to pay taxes related to the mortgage company he once owned. Snyder had requested evidence be introduced regarding his failure to pay his personal taxes, saying the tax evasion charge against him regarded his personal taxes.

Van Bokkelen also ruled that information about Snyder's wife employment be excluded, but will allow evidence the government obtained investigating other city employees.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.