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Crudup's case continues for 'positive discussions'
Mar 19, 2004 12:00 am
A recent series of "positive discussions" between defense attorneys and prosecutors caused a two-week delay in a scheduled court hearing for a former Lebanon official charged with misusing a city-issued credit card.
As a result, a hearing for former purchasing agent Johnny Crudup set for earlier this week in Wilson County Criminal Court was rescheduled for April 1, an official said.
Crudup left city government after being charged in 2002 with making a series of improper purchases on his city credit card, many of which were challenged by defense attorney Jerry Gonzalez in filing for pretrial diversion on behalf of his client.
In an exhibit filed along with Crudup's application for pretrial diversion – similar to probation in that the charge can be retired and a defendant's record expunged if certain conditions imposed by the court are met – Gonzalez maintained that many of the allegations of improper credit card use against his client actually represented legitimate city purposes.
Prosecutors have repeatedly said in the past that Crudup appears to be eligible for pretrial diversion although the state intends to demand restitution before finalizing an agreement.
Before the delay was granted earlier this week, Gonzalez told Criminal Court Judge J.O. Bond that the two sides are "very close to an agreement" in the case.
District Attorney General Tommy Thompson seemed to agree, saying the delay in Crudup's scheduled court appearance came due to ongoing discussions among attorneys.
"There have been some positive discussions between the defense and the state," Thompson said. "We've had numerous discussions back and forth."
Gonzalez agreed negotiations in the case have been progressing, praising the DA's office for its position in the case.
"I would say all discussions are positive," the defense attorney said. "The DA's staff has been very accommodating in terms of negotiating. They've been very receptive to us in this matter. We have no complaints at all."
After his indictment on theft-related charges, Crudup filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, leveling a wide range of allegations against Mayor Don Fox and other officials.
But Gonzalez granted a stay in those proceedings until the criminal case reaches its end, meaning no action will be taken on the lawsuit until the criminal charges are resolved.