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Lawyers to delay Jeremy Johnson fraud trial

Lawyers to delay Jeremy Johnson fraud trial

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson and four associates want to postpone the March 2 trial date in the multibillion-dollar consumer fraud case.

Evidence in the case includes hundreds of thousands of documents that defense attorneys say they are just getting into. They also need to interview witnesses and prepare motions.

Defense attorney Ed Wall told U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul Warner on Tuesday that he could be ready for trial in the summer of 2016.

While Warner is amenable to delaying the trial, he said that's not going to happen.

"I can tell you Mr. Wall, it ain't gonna be years from now. You're going to have to work a little harder," the judge said.

Federal prosecutors initially filed one mail fraud charge against Johnson in June 2011. After a plea deal fell apart, they filed an 86-count fraud indictment in March 2013 against Johnson and Scott Leavitt, Bryce Payne, Ryan Riddle and Loyd Johnston, all of whom were executives at Johnson's online marketing company, iWorks.

"It's old. It's getting older," Warner said of the case. "These people are twisting in the proverbial wind, so to speak."

The judge asked the attorneys to file a written motion to postpone the trial before he sets a new date.

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