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Tillmon trial now set for April

By LANCE MARTIN
rrspin.com

GREENVILLE – Antonio Tillmon’s Operation Rockfish trial in federal court here has been moved to the April 24 term, court records show.

Senior United States District Judge Malcolm Howard approved the continuation in the federal police corruption case after Tillmon’s new attorney, Paul K. Sun Jr. of Raleigh, requested more time.

“For good cause shown, the trial of this matter previously set for February 6, 2017, is hereby continued to commence with jury selection at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 24, 2017, at the United States Courthouse in Greenville, North Carolina,” Howard wrote in his order. “Counsel shall appear in chambers at 9:30 a.m. on April 24, 2017, with their proposed witness lists, which shall specifically identify the names and cities of residence of each witness.”

Additionally, Howard changed deadlines for motions in the case to be submitted no later than March 27 and any supplemental filings to be submitted by April 7.

Howard noted in the document the estimated trial time is seven to nine days.

“Any delay that results from this continuance of defendant’s trial is excluded from Speedy Trial Act computation for the reason that the ends of justice served by this continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.”

Tillmon, a former officer with the Windsor Police Department, is the only one of the 15 defendants in the case to plead not guilty. The others have entered into plea agreements with the government and are tentatively scheduled for sentencing in March.

Of the other 14 defendants in the case, seven are former deputies with the Northampton County Sheriff’s office and three former correctional officers with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Another is a former E-911 dispatcher employed by Northampton County.

The Operation Rockfish police corruption sting contains a 54-count federal indictment that alleges 13 law enforcement officers and two other individuals protected narcotics shipments and cash proceeds during transit along the East Coast for what they believed was a large-scale drug trafficking organization that was actually an undercover operation by the FBI.

The conspiracy was ongoing since around Nov. 7, 2013 until the time of the arrests made on April 13, 2015.

(Lance Martin is the Editor and Publisher of www.rrspin.com. This article is published with permission.)