Attorneys in the Christopher Epps case continue to go back and forth over moving ahead with the sentencing phase of the case. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate expected to preside over a hearing about the net benefit some 15 or more companies gained from contracts, while Christopher Epps was commissioner at the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He's already pled guilty to taking $1.4 million in bribes. Federal prosecutors want to use the information to help determine Epps' sentence. At yesterday's hearing John Collette, Epps' attorney, argued for a delay. He said prosecutors gave him documents submitted by the companies just this week and more details are needed.
"Well I don't think we had sufficient documents and we're still getting documents. So once we get them all hopefully we can come up with a number," said Collette.
He says determining how much the companies benefited is complicated.
"The case law says the revenue minus direct costs. Sometimes you deduct some other costs. So, that's one of our issues. We're have a little bit--the law is not clear in that area," said Collette.
Also what isn't clear is if the feds will prosecute some of the companies. Businessman Cecil McCrory and his new attorney, Carlos Tanner, participated in the hearing. Epps gave McCrory a commissary contract and McCrory has pleaded guilty to corruption. Tanner told Judge Wingate he's working on withdrawing McCrory's guilty plea.
Federal prosecutors have to ensure defense attorneys have all the documents they need well before a June 29th hearing. Epps could have up to 23 years in prison.