Photographer: Alessandro Della Bella/Bloomberg

FIFA Judge Sets 2017 Trial as Some Defendants Seek Deals

  • Prosecutor says several defendants considering guilty pleas
  • Four defendants say they may consider separate trials

Some defendants in the FIFA corruption probe are in talks to plead guilty, federal prosecutors said, as a November 2017 trial looms for those left standing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Norris didn’t name the defendants considering guilty pleas at a hearing on Monday before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen. In total, 40 people have been charged in the sprawling corruption case, and 15 people, plus two companies, have pleaded guilty. Chen scheduled a Nov. 6, 2017, trial for eight remaining defendants in the U.S.

“I think she set a fairly reasonable briefing schedule and we look forward to defending the case in court,” Charles Stillman, a lawyer for Jose Maria Marin, a Brazilian FIFA official, said after the hearing.

Norris told Chen federal investigators are also still reviewing hundreds of thousands of other documents produced after American officials asked their Paraguay counterparts to search the headquarters of CONMEBOL, the South American soccer federation based in Asuncion, Paraguay. Some of those documents may contain material that may be important to the defense, he said.

Chen, who took over the case in August, said Monday that lawyers may need extra time to review the ten million pages of evidence produced by the investigation so far. The judge, a former federal prosecutor, jokingly asked “is there anybody left in the office to do any work?” as she looked across the courtroom at a table where eight prosecutors were seated.

The case is U.S. V. Webb, 15-cr-00252, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Manhattan).

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