Warr Trial Update:
by Keith Burton GCN 9/19/09
One of the important pre-trial deadlines has come and gone in the Katrina, insurance and bank fraud case of former Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and his wife Laura. September 17th was the deadline for any plea changes to be filed by the Warr's in the case. Both have previously pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Warrs face a twenty-count indictment stemming from a government investigation into the couple's receipt of a Mississippi Development Authority homeowners grant, as well as questions regarding the couple's insurance losses for property alleged destroyed by Katrina. There are also charges that question how the Warr's had initially financed the purchase the property from the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
This past week the Warrs have received a setback regarding a request for more information from the government stemming from the government's Bill of Particulars in the case.
The attorneys for the Warrs had asked the judge to require the government to turn over an extensive list of FEMA documents as well as bank records, this in connection with the bank fraud charges the couple faces. Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker ruled Friday to deny the Warrs’ request for the records writing that the couple's attorneys could obtain the records by subpoena if they wished.
"It appears to this Court that the Government has met its discovery obligations under Rule 16, Fed. R. Crim. P., and  the Court’s order regarding discovery as to the Defendant. It is therefore,ORDERED that  the motion for a bill of particulars is found moot; it is further ORDERED that  the motion for discovery is denied." reads the judge's ruling.
On another issue, motions by the Warr's defense attorneys that seek to have the judge dismiss several of the counts in the indictment in connection with the homeowner grant issue have yet to be ruled upon.
Their trial is only a few weeks away. It is set to begin at 10:00 a.m. October 5, in federal district court in Gulfport.
Judge's Order on Request - .pdf file
Warr Indictment - GCN .pdf file (Ed: The newest counts are toward the bottom of the document.)