LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) — A federal judge has set what appears to be a firm trial date for the final two defendants in the Lynn Haven corruption case.
Margo Anderson, the former mayor of Lynn Haven, and James Finch, the owner of Phoenix Construction, are accused of bribery and fraud over several city projects that took place both before and after Hurricane Michael.
On Tuesday, Judge Mark Walker ordered the prosecution and defense to file their final motions and responses, exchange witness lists and create the jury instructions and verdict form in the months of September, October, and November.
The trial itself is set to start on November 28.
After months of dealing with defense motions and even going so far as to hold a three-day hearing over allegations of misconduct by prosecutors and investigators, it is clear that Walker is ready to resolve the case.
“Next, a word about Defendants’ Rule 12(b) motions — for the uninitiated, typically motions to dismiss the indictment. This Court has given Defendants every opportunity to make their arguments. Indeed, it has bent over backwards to do so — even taking the extraordinary step of inquiring into the grand jury proceedings,” he wrote. “But this Court has had enough of the slow trickle of motions attacking the indictment; at some point, this case must move towards its resolution. Put simply, if Defendants have any remaining challenges to the indictment that they would like to bring, those challenges had better appear in a motion filed on or before September 12, 2022. If it’s filed after, this Court will not entertain it.”
Finch’s attorney, Guy Lewis, said in a previous hearing that he will file several more motions attacking the case and specifically mentioned a motion to sever so that Finch and Anderson will not be tried together.