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John Daley reporting Bill Taylor, Attorney for Tom Welch: "It's going to trial. Period."
That's the assessment of defense attorneys as they emerged from a hearing today in the Olympic bid scandal case. Dirty laundry and all, they say the case is going to trial.
The big Olympic bash has come and gone, but the fight over the way the Games were won lives on and appears headed for one final, potentially dramatic conclusion.
The wheels are in motion and the long-delayed court case in the Olympic bid scandal is on track to start at the end of this month. The key players were in court this morning for a housekeeping hearing that marks the official re-start of the coming court fight.
The defendants, Tom Welch and Dave Johnson, were not in court today as their attorneys and prosecutors began locking horns over specific details, like the trial schedule and the jury selection process.
The defendants have rejected past government plea bargain offers and today their attorneys said a trial looks likely.
Max Wheeler, Attorney for Dave Johnson: "Yes it will. I think the chances of this going to trial are almost certain."
The central intrigue revolves around prominent figures involved in the bid process. Members of the International Olympic Committee, Governor Mike Leavitt and Senator Orrin Hatch, among others, could be called to testify.
Max Wheeler, Attorney for Dave Johnson: "Our goal is not to blame anyone. That's not the defense we are going to offer. Our defense is going to be that we did not commit the crimes we are charged with.”
Welch and Johnson have long said they are being made scapegoats for what was a team effort. But Johnson's attorney says the pain a trial causes will outweigh the public catharsis of understanding just what went on.
Max Wheeler, Attorney for Dave Johnson: "Well I guess therapeutic in the sense that watching a street fight might be therapeutic to the observers. I don't see that there's any therapy to any of that. This has been hashed and rehashed in press for many years. It's just going to dredge up things that are best forgotten."
Barring anything unexpected like a plea, which looks highly unlikely, the trial is set to begin in four weeks--October 28. The attorneys say they expect this complicated case, which involves many witnesses, to last about six weeks.