The brakes have been put on both of the criminal cases in U.S. District Court for Northern Iowa, where they are being heard by Chief Judge Linda R. Reade. She is holding a telephonic scheduling conference with attorneys in the case on Friday with the goal of setting a new trial date for 73-year-old Cedar Rapids businessman William B. Aossey Jr.
He was the first to be indicted last October, and his trial was scheduled to start on March 9, 2015. Judge Jon Stuart Scoles, chief magistrate for the district, granted the defense a continuance in the case and left it to the chief judge to pick a new date for the trial.
“This is a complex case,” Scoles stated in his ruling. “Failure to grant a continuance would deny (the) Defendant the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”
The time between Feb. 5, when the continuance was requested, and the new trial date will be excluded from the speedy trial rule.
A second trial, involving indictments against Aossey’s sons and businesses, is also being postponed. Government and defense attorneys have agreed it won’t start until sometime after Oct. 1, 2015.
That trial was scheduled to start next Tuesday, Feb. 17, but defense attorneys said “initial discovery” in the case left them looking at 300,000 documents and led them to approach government attorneys to request more time for pre-trial work, which brought the agreement for the delay.
Michael K. Lahammer, the Cedar Rapids-based defense attorney, said in filing to reset the trial dates that he plans on filing a number of pre-trial motions in the case. The schedule he and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy have agreed upon makes July 1 the deadline for “all potentially dispositive motions.”
His clients — Jalel Aossey and Yahya Nasser Aossey — were charged in December in a 92-count indictment that alleges conspiracy, false statements, wire fraud and money laundering. Also named in the indictment were Midamar Corporation and Islamic Services of America, the entities founded by the elder Aossey to produce and sell Iowa beef around the world as Halal, meaning that it meets all the standards and requirements of the Muslim religion.
As the owner of Midamar Corp. and the registered agent of Islamic Services of America, both housed at the same Cedar Rapids address, William B. Aossey Jr. was initially the only one indicted as a result of the federal investigation. However, that changed a few weeks later when the second case was brought against his two sons and their organizations.
At the center of both cases, according to court documents, are allegations of a conspiracy to sell beef to Malaysia and Indonesia by covering up material facts, making false and fraudulent statements, making and using false documents and export certificates, and misbranded products.