Federal Judge Refuses McCann’s Motion to Further Delay Wire Fraud, Money Laundering Trial

By Benjamin Cox on January 12, 2024 at 1:53pm

The trial for a former state senator and one-time gubernatorial candidate will proceed next month despite his attempts to delay the trial this week.

Federal Judge Colleen Lawless denied Sam McCann’s filing to continue his trial for 60 days on Wednesday. McCann had filed a motion to continue earlier in the week asking for more time to review his case and file a witness list.

McCann had announced at a November 27th hearing that he was firing his court-appointed defense counsel and would be proceeding pro se, representing himself. McCann is receiving guidance in the case from court-appointed “stand-by counsel” Jason Vincent of Springfield.

Lawless denied McCann’s motion to continue on the grounds that the case was 3 years old and that McCann has had five or six court-paid attorneys since he was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 2, 2021. According to the Illinois Times, the judge said she wasn’t persuaded by McCann’s argument that he hasn’t had enough time to prepare for a trial. She ordered McCann to file his witness list by end of business yesterday. According to digital federal court records this morning, McCann has not done so.

McCann has pleaded not guilty to the grand jury’s seven felony counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering, and one count of tax evasion. He has contended that the charges were politically motivated.

McCann is alleged to have illegally paid himself and make personal purchases totaling more than $200,000 from contributions to his campaign committees. If convicted, McCann could face a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Judge Lawless scheduled a final pretrial hearing for Tuesday, with the trial set to start on February 5th.