A federal prosecutor on Tuesday said the government's case against former Reynolds and Reynolds Co. CEO Bob Brockman on tax evasion and wire fraud charges could be ready for trial next year.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Pitman said during a status conference Tuesday that prosecutors will propose a trial date of September 2021 as part of a tentative schedule of proceedings it soon will file with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where the charges against Brockman were issued last month.
Brockman, who stepped down this month as chairman and CEO of the privately held dealership management system giant, is free on a $1 million bond after being indicted in October in what prosecutors contend was an elaborate offshore scheme over two decades to evade taxes on $2 billion in income.
Reynolds and Reynolds, of Dayton, Ohio, is not accused of wrongdoing in the government's case against Brockman.
Tuesday's 30-minute hearing, conducted by telephone, previewed arguments that federal prosecutors and Brockman's attorneys plan to make in a Dec. 1 hearing related to the defense's interest in transferring the case to Houston, where Brockman lives, and to what prosecutors are calling "voluminous" discovery that is expected to produce millions of pages of evidence.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup said he "will do my best to get it to trial by September 2021," and ordered prosecutors and defense attorneys to discuss a timeline for the case.
Alsup told attorneys Tuesday that he was interested in knowing how soon the case could get to trial if it is moved to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, given court limitations that are or may be imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Defense attorneys for Brockman have filed a motion to transfer the venue for the tax evasion charges from Northern California to the Southern District of Texas, which federal prosecutors oppose. Brockman's attorneys have indicated in court filings that they also will move to transfer the entire case to Southern Texas "for several reasons, including Mr. Brockman's serious health issues."
Brockman, 79, has Parkinson's disease and a heart condition and has faced two rounds of cancer, his attorneys said in a court hearing in October, according to a transcript of the proceeding.
Neal Stephens, an attorney for Brockman, said during Tuesday's hearing that Brockman's health conditions have raised "concerns about his ability to assist in the defense of the case," an issue he said will need to be discussed before the court with regard to scheduling and a possible change of venue.