- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - The Lake County sheriff has asked a judge to delay his trial in a corruption case.

Sheriff John Buncich’s attorney is asking for a delay from later this month until April due to “voluminous” material to review, including more than 45 CDs of video and audio recordings, The Post-Tribune (https://trib.in/2iQWGc6 ) reported.

In his motion, Buncich’s attorney, Bryan Truitt, said Buncich’s defense team hasn’t received discovery material from federal authorities and wouldn’t be able to prepare for a January trial.

“The government represents that the discovery is massive and the defense would not be able to sort through it all by Jan. 17, 2017, even if the same were received today,” Truitt wrote.

Buncich, former Chief of Police Timothy Downs and William Szarmach, were named in a multicount indictment Nov. 18 alleging an illegal towing scheme in which the sheriff accepted bribes. All are facing charges of wire fraud. Buncich and Szarmach are also charged with bribery.

Court records show those bribes were in the form of thousands of dollars in cash and donations to his campaign fund, Buncich’s Boosters.

Buncich and Szarmach pleaded not guilty during their appearances in November.

Downs accepted a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office, which a federal judge has not yet accepted. In the agreement, Downs admits to allegedly cooperating with Buncich to solicit bribes from tow truck operators for favorable treatment. As part of the plea agreement, Downs would cooperate with federal authorities and provide any information relative to commission of any crime.

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Information from: Post-Tribune, https://posttrib.chicagotribune.com/

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