Trial for Parker, Yearty delayed

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Blair to be tried separately

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Suspended Levy County Commissioners William “Sammy” Yearty and Robert “Tony” Parker will be tried separately from co-defendant Pamela Williams Blair and their federal corruption trial is delayed until Aug. 3.

There’s been a flurry of motions filed in the past two months as Yearty, who is charged with conspiring and accepting bribes in the form of a gift card and a trip to New York City and then lying about it to the FBI, asked to have his and Parker’s trial severed from Blair’s trial on charges of lying to the FBI. Parker, who is charged with conspiring and accepting the same bribes as Yearty, sought the latest delay from the June 1 trial date and has asked for a change in his release provisions to allow him to work at night at his business, Bronson Speedway.Yearty’s lawyer has also filed motions seeking to use an entrapment defense and to have instructions on entrapment made at the trial. No decision has been made on those motions.The two men were indicted in late October, arrested after winning additional four-year terms in the Nov. 4 General Election, and suspended the same day they were arraigned on the charges in the federal indictment.On Nov. 19 the indictment was “superseded” or amended to repeat the charges against Yearty and Parker, and add four perjury charges against Blair, the resigned executive director of the Levy County Enterprise Zone Development Agency.

Parker, Yearty and Blair were to be tried together on Dec. 8, but that was delayed until February 2009, until May 4 and to June 1.

The original indictment charged that Yearty and Parker conspired with a man going by the name of Shawn Michaels to accept gift cards and a trip to New York City in December 2007 in return for “intending to be influenced or rewarded” for business coming before the Levy County Board of Commissioners. Yearty is charged with lying to the FBI regarding having received money for Michaels.