Federal judge postpones trial for next Tennessee Waltz defendant

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge postponed the trial for a former state senator charged in connection with the Tennessee Waltz public corruption case after a two-hour hearing Thursday.

Roscoe Dixon had been set to go to trial April 17 on charges of extortion and bribery, but his attorneys argued they needed more time to review tapes, transcripts and other evidence in the case, according to a report on The Commercial Appeal Web site.

Prosecutors had told the judge they would have all discovery materials, including videotapes and transcripts, to Dixon's attorneys by March 30.

His attorneys wanted to postpone the trial until October, a motion prosecutors opposed. U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla then reset the trial for May 30.

Dixon, who left the Senate in 2005 to take a job as a top aide to Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, is charged with taking payoffs to advance legislation favorable to a phony computer recycling company run by undercover FBI agents. He resigned from the county job after being indicted in May.

He had to get a new lawyer because the law firm of his first defense attorney had once done legal work for the government's chief witness.

Five current or former state lawmakers have been charged with taking bribes from FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking legislative favors. Three county officials, in Memphis and Chattanooga, and two "bag men" also were charged in the sting operation.

One lawmaker, former state Rep. Chris Newton, and the two bag men, Barry Myers and Charles Love, have pleaded guilty.

Hamilton County Commissioner William Cotton was convicted of some charges and faces sentencing later this year.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)