February 2, 2018 10:41:15 AM
The trial for Johnny Moore's challenge of last year's Democratic primary results has been pushed from its scheduled Monday start to April 9.
The Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk's office confirmed the continuance, though an order from Judge Barry Ford wasn't yet available on Thursday.
Moore is contesting his six-vote loss to Lynn Spruill in a June Democratic party runoff on the grounds of numerous election irregularities, including issues with accepted and rejected ballots. Spruill has served as mayor since taking office in July.
In January, Ford ordered William Starks, who's representing Moore, to share full documentation to Spruill's legal team if they want to call Hinds County Republic Party Executive Committee Chairman James L. "Pete" Perry as an expert witness on Moore's election challenge.
Prior to the January hearing, attorneys Jim Mozingo and Lydia Quarles, who are representing Spruill, filed a motion challenging Perry's inclusion as an expert witness. They also contended Moore's legal team hadn't provided enough information about Perry.
Mozingo said Thursday's delay stems from ongoing discovery issues, as Spruill's team is still seeking information.
"Some of those discovery issues are still going on that he thought we needed to get handled," he said. "We asked for additional time to get the information we needed."
Mozingo said Spruill's team initially only requested 30 days, but the trial got delayed further due to a lack of available facilities in March.
Starks said he opposed the delay, and had been ready for the trial to begin on Monday. He said he wasn't sure what other information Spruill's team needed.
"The judge made his ruling that he wanted to give Ms. Spruill's camp additional time to explore things," Starks said. "Our view is they've had that ever since we filed the petition. But we'll abide by the judge's ruling that set it for April and get ready for then."
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