Updated November 10, 2010 at midnight
Steamboat Springs A three-day trial for Brooks Kellogg is scheduled to start Jan. 3, but a legal expert said Tuesday that pretrial motions and evidence questions could push that date back.
“Given the complexity of the case, it’s really fast,” Denver lawyer H. Michael Steinberg said about the trial date. “I suspect the defense is gearing up to file a lot of motions in the case, which I think ultimately would delay the trial.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello has set Kellogg’s trial date, less than a week after he entered a not guilty plea in a Denver federal courtroom. Kellogg, 72, a part-time Steamboat Springs resident, was arrested Oct. 19 at Denver International Airport on suspicion of trying to pay for the killing of a Florida man who won $2.5 million in a settlement against business entities owned by Kellogg and a Steamboat business partner.
An Attorney’s Office news release said pretrial motions are due Nov. 23, with responses due Dec. 8. A trial preparation conference and motion hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16.
Steinberg said the Dec. 16 hearing could include testimony about issues including evidence, which he expects the defense to attack.
Steinberg, of the Law Office of H. Michael Steinberg in Denver, has more than 26 years of legal experience. He has appeared on CNN and Fox News and comments about legal issues for other media outlets.
The actions of Denver lawyer Larry Pozner, who is leading Kellogg’s defense, hinted at an evidence-attacking strategy in a Nov. 1 hearing in U.S. District Court. Pozner posed several questions about evidence to FBI special agent Kenneth Jackson, who led the Kellogg investigation.
Jackson acknowledged that the audio recording of Kellogg’s alleged Oct. 19 conversation at DIA, with an undercover FBI agent posing as a contract killer, did not work. Jackson also testified that the FBI did not take possession of a computer authorities say a Clifton woman used to exchange messages with Kellogg, discussing the proposed killing.
Pozner could not be reached Tuesday.
Last week, a federal grand jury in Denver formally indicted Kellogg on one count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire and one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence. If Kellogg is convicted, he could be sentenced to as much as $500,000 in fines and as many as 30 years in prison.
Kellogg, from Chicago, is the managing member of Chadwick Real Estate Group in Steamboat and owns the Old Pilot Building at 1041 Lincoln Ave. He also owns a home overlooking Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club.
He remains in custody at a federal detention center in Englewood, without bail.
Steinberg said should the case go to trial — which he deemed likely — that trial probably would occur in Denver. Changes of venue occur “only in the most extreme cases,” he said, and the large size of the metro area’s jury pool means an impartial jury probably could be found.
“Although this is pretty high-profile, I don’t think it comes close to the standard for change of venue,” Steinberg said.
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