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Attorney Scott King files a Motion to obtain early discovery in federal court

An attorney for Lake County Surveyor George Van Til wants the federal government to turn over all witness statements connected to his criminal case now so that the long-time politician can weigh whether to pursue a plea agreement. Van Til’s attorney Scott King stresses in the motion, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, that his request does not mean Van Til is considering a plea agreement now. However, the surveyor needs to know more about the government’s evidence against him to consider whether he should eventually take a plea agreement, King says in the motion. “… In order to make an informed, intelligent decision in this regard, he should be entitled to have his attorney know the measure of the evidence that the government intends to seek to convict him with including, most importantly the identity and anticipated testimony by the government’s witnesses,” the motion says. Van Til was charged in May using county equipment and employees to work on his past two political campaigns. Court filings say that Van Til hired someone through his office for a month to do nothing but work on the campaign and run personal errands for him. Other employees worked on his campaign during work hours, including selling fundraising tickets. He’s also accused of asking one employee to replace his county hard drive with a new one he paid for and then telling that employee to not tell the FBI about it. Van Til has pleaded not guilty in the case and has strongly asserted his innocence, writing a letter saying that the government has harassed him but that he will work to clear his name. The motion says that the government has turned over a large amount of evidence but informed the defense it would withhold some witness statements until just before the trial. King says in the motion that without the evidence, he can’t fully advise his client as to the benefits of a plea deal versus going to trial. The lack of evidence would also hamper any negotiations for a plea deal, the motion says. The trial is set for July 29.



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