Jeremy Johnson pulls delay request, again asks to represent himself

Jeremy Johnson pulls delay request, again asks to represent himself

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SALT LAKE CITY — Jeremy Johnson has asked his attorneys to pull their latest request to delay his upcoming trial and he is again seeking to represent himself in court.

At a hearing set to discuss the latest effort by Johnson's legal team to get more time before the four-week trial, currently set to begin Feb. 1, defense attorney Rebecca Skordas announced instead that Johnson had asked her to pull the motion. This was Skordas' second attempt this month to delay the trial.

"We will be prepared to go to trial in February if we are still representing Mr. Johnson," Skordas said.

Attorneys for Johnson's co-defendants indicated their preference for more time before the trial but did not pursue it further.

In a packet of information sent directly to U.S. District Judge David Nuffer, the former St. George businessman and millionaire included a third effort to represent himself in the case. Johnson, who was not in court Wednesday, will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner in one week to discuss the request.

Noting Johnson's previous requests to represent himself, Warner told attorneys Wednesday that he intends to settle the question "once and for all" at next week's hearing.

Johnson and three former business partners — Bryce Payne, Scott Leavitt and Ryan Riddle — face dozens of fraud charges in connection with Johnson's once-thriving Internet marketing company, iWorks. They're accused of setting up shell companies to process consumer credit and debit cards when other accounts were closed by credit card issuers because of a large number of chargebacks.

Wednesday's hearing also dealt extensively with answering Nuffer's questions about four computer hard drives containing possible evidence, including emails that Johnson has long claimed went missing, and forensic efforts to collect data from the machines. Attorneys for the defendants recently gained access to the servers.

Skordas said in court last week that Johnson's defense is seriously compromised by missing emails from the four defendants to parties outside iWorks and that attempts to recover the email were being made.

Johnson acts as his own lawyer in a parallel Federal Trade Commission case against him. Johnson is also a key witness in the criminal cases against former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff.

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McKenzie Romero


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