Trial for accused Pittsburgh synagogue murderer to begin after Jewish holidays
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Trial for accused Pittsburgh synagogue murderer to begin after Jewish holidays

(World brief file photo)
(World brief file photo)

A trial date for the accused shooter at the Tree of Life building last year will not be set until all pretrial motions are resolved, said U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose at a status conference last week.

The Justice Department, which is seeking the death penalty, had requested a trial date be set for September next year. The defense objected to that date. Objections to that date were also conveyed by congregations New Light and Dor Hadash in a letter to the judge. The proposed date would have come just days before the High Holidays.

Despite the assistant U.S. attorney’s argument that the government’s request for a date in September 2020 was an effort to avoid unreasonable delays for the victims’ families — and that jury selection would, in fact, delay the commencement of witness testimonies, thereby avoiding conflict with the Jewish holidays — Ambrose said the trial would not begin until all pretrial issues had been resolved and the holidays were over.

The defense has until mid-December to file all motions, including constitutional challenges to the death penalty, and the prosecution will have another month to respond to those motions. pjc

— Toby Tabachnick

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