Leland corruption trial delayed again amid COVID-19
Detroit — A federal judge on Friday postponed the corruption trial of Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland for a seventh time, citing several reasons that include the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
U.S. District Judge Judith Levy postponed the May trial to Aug. 17. The postponement follows previous delays to scheduling issues involving witnesses, potential plea negotiations and evidence gathered by the government during a years-long investigation involving Leland and campaign staffer Elisa Grubbs.
The global coronavirus pandemic has closed federal court to the public.
Leland, a 37-year-old Democrat, is the highest-ranking Detroit politician charged with a federal crime since former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted a decade ago and subsequently sentenced to 28 years in federal prison.
Federal agents and the U.S. Attorney's Office have targeted public corruption during a more than decade-long crackdown in Metro Detroit that has led to charges against more than 110 politicians, bureaucrats, police officers and union officials.
Leland was charged with bribery in a three-count indictment in October 2018 and accused of agreeing to accept $15,000 and free car repairs from Detroit businessman Robert Carmack.
If convicted, Leland could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each bribery count and five years for bribery conspiracy.