David Eckberg’s trial has been delayed again, more than a year after charges were filed against the former Lumberjack Days organizer.
The 62-year-old Stillwater man faces five counts of theft by check and five counts of issuing a dishonored check. All counts are felonies. If convicted, Eckberg faces a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each count of theft by check and 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each count of issuing a dishonored check.
Prosecutors allege that Eckberg wrote bad checks for more than $50,000-worth of goods and services in connection with the Lumberjack Days festival.
Originally set for Oct. 28, 2013, Eckberg’s trial was rescheduled for Feb. 3 at the request of both the defense and prosecution, due to the timing of a ruling from the court.
With a jury standing by on Feb. 3, Eckberg’s attorney, Eric Thole, requested the judge postpone the trial again.
The requested delay appeared to be related to a plea bargain offered by the state about a week and a half earlier. As of Feb. 3, Eckberg had not accepted the deal, but the offer remained on the table.
Thole declined to comment on the reason for the delay, but said it would become clear in time.
Prosecutor Richard Hodson didn’t offer much detail either, saying only that the defendant and his attorney didn’t see eye to eye on something.
“The state … was prepared for trial today,” Hodson said. “The defendant and his attorney … for whatever reasons between them, decided they wanted a continuance.”
Judge Susan Miles reluctantly agreed to reschedule the trial for Monday, March 24. She was clearly frustrated that the case, filed in November 2012, was being dragged out further.
“I had to move a multitude of cases in order to make this date work,” she said of the Feb. 3 court date. “This was no small task. … Mr. Eckberg, be on notice. … There will not be any more continuances granted. Period.”
Other comments by Miles suggested that Thole will no longer be on the case at the time of the trial. Miles told Eckberg that if his lawyer of choice was not available March 24, that would not be a reason for a continuance. She said whomever Eckberg hired must be available on that date.
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