Judge won’t delay developer’s trial as feds drop more charges

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has refused to delay the trial of prominent Utah developer Terry Diehl, even as prosecutors dismissed more charges against him.

Former UTA board member Terry Diehl (left) leaves U.S. District Court on Friday, June 30, 2017. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah filed an emergency motion to delay the start of jury selection on Thursday, arguing they were seeking a superseding indictment. It’s the fourth time prosecutors have dropped charges against Diehl.

Now, he faces a single count of making a false declaration.

In a court filing, Diehl’s defense attorneys disclosed the new indictment and accused prosecutors of a “bait and switch” by filing then dropping criminal charges. They also objected to any delay of his trial and some witnesses the feds wanted to testify.

“Their charging conduct not only is improper but has improperly manipulated the playing field so many times in the run up to the long and firmly scheduled trial that Mr. Diehl is seriously prejudiced by having been misled about the charges, disadvantaging him with respect to what charges he must be prepared for at trial; what evidence and witnesses will be offered; and even what issues will be material that he has effectively been prohibited from receiving both a speedy trial, as required by the Constitution, and a fair trial, also required by the Constitution,” Diehl’s attorney, Loren Washburn, wrote.

Federal prosecutors objected to the characterization.

Court records show that during a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Judge Clark Waddoups refused the government’s request for a trial delay and struck some of their witnesses from testifying.

Diehl was previously accused of not disclosing assets from a development project near a Utah Transit Authority Frontrunner stop. He had also served on UTA’s Board of Trustees.

He was originally indicted the day after UTA itself struck a cooperation agreement with the federal government, in exchange for not being prosecuted.