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Trial is delayed in corruption case

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The federal trial for a former Uintah Special Service District director and a Duchesne County businessman has been delayed for five weeks at the request of the defense attorney for one of the plaintiffs.

Attorney Wendy M. Lewis asked for a continuance in the Aug. 21 trial for her client, Kathryn Erickson, formerly of Vernal. According to court records, Lewis was away for two weeks due to a death in her family and needed additional time to organize her current case load.

Lewis is representing Erickson in her upcoming trial on charges of corruption, obstruction and impeding the course of a federal grand jury investigation. Erickson's four-day trial on three felony counts will now begin Sept. 25 in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City before Judge Ted Stewart.

Prosecutors allege that Erickson, the former director of the Uintah Special Service District, falsified documents prior to submitting them in the course of an August 2000 grand jury investigation into the misappropriation of federal funding for road projects in Uintah County.

Erickson is being tried with co-defendant Gil Mitchell, of Roosevelt. Mitchell faces identical charges to those of Erickson. The two are accused of falsifying change orders for paving projects by modifying the dates on contracts between the district and Ned B. Mitchell Construction, Inc.

Erickson and Mitchell were the only people charged in connection with the investigation launched by the federal government in 2000 to examine the way the special service district and the county were allocating federal dollars for road projects. Each count carries a possible maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

E-mail: lezleewhiting@hotmail.com