Former City Councilman John Drayman’s criminal trial was delayed yet again Tuesday in order to give his public defender more time to review evidence, but the judge made clear his desire to have proceedings start later this year.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus said that although he would give Deputy Public Defender Sean McDonald a few more months to prepare, he didn’t want the case to linger for another year.
“I don’t see this as being the most complicated case compared to some others on my calendar,” Marcus said.
McDonald said he’d be ready for trial by September. Drayman is slated to return to the downtown Los Angeles court in May to set a trial date.
Drayman was indicted by a grand jury in May 2012 for allegedly embezzling at least $304,000 over the course of about seven years from the weekly farmers market in Montrose, the proceeds of which benefit the quaint shopping area along Honolulu Street.
The indictment also includes charges of forgery, filing false tax statements and money laundering.
Drayman, who has maintained his innocence, said after the hearing Tuesday that he doesn’t mind waiting longer if his attorney needs more time, but that he was “anxious to get to the [trial] day.”
“There’s a lot to say,” he said. “I’m keenly aware of what’s at stake.”
Drayman could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
It was Drayman’s fourth pre-trial hearing in downtown Los Angeles since he was indicted nearly eight months ago. His case has hit some speed bumps after he switched attorneys.
McDonald is the third attorney to represent Drayman in criminal court. Drayman’s original private attorney was swapped months ago for a public defender who ended up leaving the case, citing a heavy workload.
Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Susan Schwartz said she expects the trial to take two to three weeks.
“The end is in sight,” she said outside the courtroom.
-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News