An attorney for a Huntsville lawyer convicted of misapplying more than $2 million in bank funds is seeking a dismissal of the case, but a federal judge says there is little chance he will agree.
Jerald Engstrom's attorney, Randy Richards, made the request Wednesday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge David Winder.Winder said he would take the matter under advisement but warned Richards that chances were slim he would grant the request.
"You and your colleagues have represented your client well," Winder said, but added that he found it difficult to accept arguments for dismissal on the grounds that the prosecution occurred nearly five years after the crimes.
Richard had filed a previous motion asking that charges against Eng-strom be dismissed, but U.S. Magistrate Ronald Boyce denied the request last August and Winder concurred in Oct. 10.
A federal jury convicted Engstrom on Jan. 31 of misapplying more than $2 million from Commercial Security Bank in Ogden, where he had been a vice president.
The jury found him guilty of all five counts contained in a grand jury indictment handed up last May.
Engstrom was charged with making five transfers of money from the Ogden headquarters of CSB - now Key Bank - to parties in Utah and Texas. The transfers, all in 1985, were supposed to be covered by deposits to CSB, but checks from three Texas businessmen involved in a business deal with Engstrom bounced due to insufficient funds.
Trial testimony indicated that much of the money sent by Engstrom to Texas businessmen Clinton Man-gus, Ed Harper and Jay Olsen may have been used to bankroll the now-defunct San Antonio Gunslingers of the United States Football League.
Richards argued that the delay by the U.S. attorney's office in prosecuting Engstrom's case prejudiced his client because it allowed at least one witness to decide against testifying on his behalf.
He also said other witnesses forgot some facts relevant to the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tena Campbell said the delay was not malicious but occurred because prosecutors had other cases with a higher priority.
She also said that Engstrom was prosecuted well within the 10-year statute of limitations.
Engstrom is scheduled for sentencing April 25. He faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the five counts.