After a number of delays, the trial for Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) appears to be one step closer to getting underway as early as late March.
On Monday, Judge Ira Margulis granted Wills and his lawyer another seven days to decide on an attorney to represent him and appear in court. Wills is said to be “close to retaining a new attorney,” according to a spokesman with the New York State Attorney General’s office.
“Mr. Wills has identified two lawyers with whom he is interested in representing him,” Wills’ defense Steve Zissou said in court on Monday.
Last month, the PRESS of Southeast Queens reported that the trial had been delayed due to the troubled councilman’s initial attorney being “relieved due to a conflict of interest.” In the weeks following that development, Wills missed a court date due to sickness. However, the councilman was spotted at a community rally for immigrant constituents in Richmond Hill, despite his doctor recommending that he stay home and rest for recovery purposes, according to published reports.
On Friday, the state attorney general’s office expressed dismay about the numerous delays in the Wills case.
“Ruben Wills—who is facing trial in Queens and Manhattan for two alleged criminal schemes—has, for years, done everything he can to avoid confronting the charges against him,” Amy Spitalnick, press secretary for the attorney general, told the PRESS of Southeast Queens. “Elected office doesn’t give anyone license to break the law or avoid the consequences.”
Wills was scheduled to appear in court last November for allegedly funneling taxpayer dollars into a non-profit organization that he controlled. He was charged with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. If convicted, Wills faces up to seven years in prison.