Lawyers for Ryan Wannemacher file motion to delay motions and trial date

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Lawyers representing Ryan Wannemacher, the former chief financial officer of JEA, have filed a motion to extend or delay the deadlines for pre-trial motions – as well as the date of the trial itself.

There were motion deadlines in late March and early April, and a trial date set for May 2. Wannemacher and former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court to conspiracy and wire fraud.

RELATED: 2 former JEA leaders plead not guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud charges

In the motion, Wannemacher’s attorneys argue that in the city’s investigation to determine a basis for firing Zahn with “cause,” the city granted immunity to Zahn, Wannemacher, and other JEA employees in exchange of their testimonies. Lawyers argue that federal prosecutors are bound by this decision and cannot use Wannemacher’s testimony from this investigation against him.

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The attorneys write that Wannemacher’s testimony was posted online by the city in January 2020, where it could be viewed by the public, including prosecutors, grand jury witnesses, additional witnesses who may be called at trial and the media, and the lawyers write that the media has repeatedly published excerpts on television, in print and online.

The lawyers argue that because of this testimony, there are a variety of legal issues that may need to be resolved and that they can file motions – including those to dismiss the indictment, review the documents of the grand jury or to disqualify the prosecution team. They write that they also plan to file a motion to sever Wannemacher’s case from Zahn’s case, because a core part of Wannemacher’s defense will require Zahn’s testimony at the city’s investigation — something that, according to lawyers, cannot be used against Zahn.

Lawyers say they need more time to research these issues and file the motions. They are either asking for a status conference to set new deadlines for the case or settle everything at the hearing scheduled for April 18.

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According to the motion, prosecutors do not object to the delay, nor do Zahn’s attorneys.

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