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Judge: Bashara trial winding down

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — After weeks of testimony, the murder-for-hire trial of Grosse Pointe Park businessman Robert Bashara postponed Friday for medical reasons, is winding down, the judge said.

Bashara, who was hospitalized earlier in the trial because of what his attorney Lillian Diallo said was a “kidney issue,” had a doctor’s appointment Friday, although his attorneys and Wayne Circuit Judge Vonda Evans weren’t informed of it until late Thursday.

“They don’t even tell the inmates about doctors’ appointments beforehand because of security issues,” Diallo said.

Evans said part of the mix-up was because jail officials didn’t think they needed to inform the court about the appointment because there normally isn’t testimony on Fridays. But in an effort to move the proceedings along, Evans said Thursday there would be testimony Friday because her docket had unexpectedly cleared.

Bashara was brought into the courtroom but was escorted out minutes later. Testimony is scheduled resume Monday morning.

“I’ve been told there are only 10 or 11 witnesses left,” Evans said Friday. “So we’re winding down.”

There have been 56 witnesses so far in the trial that started with jury selection on Oct. 7. Testimony began Oct. 14.

Prosecutors and Bashara’s attorneys, Diallo and Michael McCarthy, have agreed to waive another 51 witnesses, including police officers, special agents and the defendant’s acquaintances from the bondage, discipline and sadomasochistic (BDSM) scene.

Bashara is accused of hiring his handyman Joseph Gentz to kill his wife Jane Bashara so he could immerse himself in the BDSM lifestyle with his girlfriend, Rachel Gillett.

Gentz, who is developmentally delayed, told investigators Bashara forced him at gunpoint to kill Jane Bashara in her garage. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a 17-28 year prison sentence.

As part of his plea deal, Gentz agreed to testify against Bashara — but he went back on that agreement before the trial began in October when prosecutors refused his request to reduce his sentence to five years.

Bashara is serving up to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to trying to have Gentz killed in jail. He is on trial for first-degree murder.