- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Federal agents and two reporters called to testify in the racketeering case against convicted killer Telly Hankton will avoid the witness stand for at least a few more days.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on Tuesday delayed an evidentiary hearing scheduled Thursday “due to the illness of a potential witness,” court records show.

Defense attorneys had subpoenaed FBI agents Keith Burris and Chip Hardgrave, their former boss Todd Cox and journalists Gordon Russell and John Simerman.

NOLA.comThe Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1dtUHTL) Feldman has not set a new hearing date.

Attorneys for Hankton and his associates seek to show the government overstepped its bounds, broke the secrecy of the grand jury investigation and irreparably tainted their case against the notorious New Orleans kingpin when federal agents met with the reporters on Oct. 10, 2012.

Russell and Simerman wrote a story about the case building against Hankton before a grand jury indicted him and a dozen associates in connection with two homicides, illegal guns and a massive drug-running operation. The journalists published a story on Oct. 13, 2012, that said investigators were poised to charge Hankton. A grand jury handed up those indictments a few days later.

Lori Mince, an attorney for Russell and Simerman, filed a motion Tuesday to quash subpoenas for testimony from Russell and Simerman that Hankton’s attorney, Buddy Lemann III, had issued on Friday. Her move comes on the heels of a similar request to quash from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Now at The Advocate, Russell and Simerman had worked for NOLA.comThe Times-Picayune in 2012. As a result, the news agency’s parent company, NOLA Media Group, has provided for their legal representation.

Mince said neither of her clients were under the weather.


Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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