Eckberg case issues ironed out

After a one-day delay, the contested omnibus hearing for Dave Eckberg reconvened Thursday afternoon in 10th Judicial District Court in Stillwater to iron out issues regarding new evidence between defense and prosecution attorneys first discussed in District Judge Susan Miles’ chambers Wednesday.

Eckberg, former organizer of Stillwater’s now-defunct Lumberjack Days festival, faces 10 felony counts of theft by check regarding not paying for services provided to the 2011 festival by several businesses, groups and individuals.

The case against Eckberg is in addition to a bankruptcy filing by Eckberg and his wife in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The Stillwater City Council voted to end Lumberjack Days in March 2012 after the charges were filed against Eckberg. The city is currently looking for a person or group interested in resuming a summer city festival.

In court Thursday, attorneys for both sides told Miles they agreed on issues discussed in the judge’s chambers Wednesday.

“We’ve made progress on the factual record of probable cause and at this time I’m entering exhibit two that both Mr. (Richard) Hodson and I agree on when it comes to the issue of beer trucks that we discussed yesterday in chambers,” said Eric Thole, Eckberg’s attorney.

“Count one and three are theft by check to the beer distributors. There is a provision in state law that if you exercise temporary control over property and don’t pay for it that it’s heedless temporary control theft,” said prosecuting attorney Richard Hodson after the hearing.

Hodson added that an amended complaint changed two counts filed against Eckberg and faced no objection from Thole. No additional charges have been added to the case.

Thole also asked that another hearing be scheduled so Brian Mock of Ichabod Productions could testify on the matter. However, Miles suggested having Mock submit testimony in an affidavit. Thole also submitted a schedule of 2011 events at Lumberjack Days as another exhibit.

Miles told both attorneys the next step is submission of simultaneous briefs. Hodson requested an opportunity to look at the defense brief so he could submit an informed response. Thole didn’t have any objection to that request.

Miles then ruled that Thole will submit his brief Sept. 12 and Hodson will submit his response Sept. 20, about a month before Eckberg’s Oct. 28 trial date.

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

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