If you were planning to try to get a seat in the courtroom this week for one of the biggest trials in Tennessee history, you will have to wait until next week.
According to the AP published at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the trial has been delayed a week to allow defense attorneys time to review more documents.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A federal judge has delayed the start of a trial for more than a dozen people accused in a sex trafficking ring run by Somali gangs that reached from Minnesota to Tennessee.
Opening arguments were scheduled to start Monday, but over the weekend the U.S. attorney’s office released to defense attorneys hundreds of pages of investigator notes and hours of telephone recordings of one of the juvenile female victims.
The indictment said three gangs called the Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia and the Lady Outlaws were forcing teenage girls into prostitution and operated in St. Paul, Minn.; Minneapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville.
The indictment accuses the gangs of finding and recruiting young girls, some also Somali, for the purpose of prostitution in exchange for money and drugs between 2000 and 2010.
Most of the defendants are from the Somali refugee populations in Minnesota and Tennessee.
U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes pushed the start of the trial back one week to give the defense attorneys time to review the additional evidence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent told the court that the late release of the documents was not intentional.
For new readers, here is a post I wrote in 2008 that is still almost daily one of the top posts here at RRW. In it we show how many Somali refugees have entered the US legally as refugees over the last two decades—over a hundred thousand now. One federal contractor that played a big role in resettling Somali Muslims is Catholic Charities.
And, here is one of many previous posts on this sex trafficking case. You can find links to earlier posts there.