Judge Moves Alamo Trial To July
A federal judge has delayed the trial for jailed evangelist Tony Alamo until July.
U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes granted Alamo’s attorney’s request to delay the trial, which had been set to begin May 18. In a one-page order issued Friday, Barnes said that the “ends of justice served by the granting of the continuance outweighs the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.”
The trial is now set for 9 a.m. July 13.
FBI agents arrested Alamo in September 2008, accusing him of transporting minors across state lines for sex.
In October a federal judge ordered the evangelist held without bail pending his trial on sex charges, saying he wanted to “assure the safety of the community” and make sure Alamo doesn’t flee.
The ruling came after Alamo’s former followers testified at a hearing that they were often beaten at his instructions and one said Alamo practiced polygamy with several women and girls, including a 9-year-old.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant noted that Alamo is charged with a violent crime and said he also considered that Alamo fled a California child-abuse charge in 1989 and was arrested two years later in Tampa, Fla., living under an assumed name. Alamo has access to various vehicles, he said.
Tony Alamo’s trial had originally been scheduled to start on November 19, 2008. It was rescheduled — first to February 2 and later to May 18 — because Alamo’s attorneys said they needed more time to prepare.
Last April a U.S. District Judge rejected a request by Alamo’s lawyers to reconsider bond for the 74-year-old, who cited the preacher’s physical frailties and problems in helping with his defense from jail