The trial of three men charged in connection with the Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center scandal has been assigned to Judge Ray M. Harding after the original trial judge bowed out of the trial.

Judge George E. Ballif won't preside over the arraignment and trial of Glen Brown, Timp Mental Health's former executive director. Baliff cited his long-term association with Brown as his reason for not wanting to preside over his trial.Because attorneys for the three defendants want them tried together, they said Ballif should consider recusing himself completely. The attorney general's office also wants the three tried together.

The other defendants are Carl V. Smith, the center's former specialty programs director, and former business manager Craig W. Stephens.

The three men, who have pleaded not guilty, face 117 felony counts of misusing public money, theft and tax evasion in connection with the $3.5 million scandal that broke last spring.

"As the court is aware, this case presents the possibility of an extensive and complex trial with massive amounts of documentary evidence and multiple witnesses," Stanley H. Olsen, assistant attorney general, told Ballif in a recent letter. "It is therefore the desire of the state to try the three defendants in one proceeding if possible."

So far, attorneys for the defendants have not requested separate trials.