A magistrate judge heard pretrial arguments from attorneys on both sides of the Denny Hecker criminal case Wednesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Nelson now has to decide whether to grant separate trials for the former auto dealer and his co-defender and former executive Steven Leach.
Government prosecutors said they were willing to share evidence lists and witness statements with the defense two weeks before trial. They also agreed to share with the defense information they obtained from the trustee handling Hecker's bankruptcy case.
But prosecutors vigorously objected to relaxing Hecker's nightly curfew and travel restrictions. And they refused to drop any conspiracy and fraud charges against Leach or Hecker. Leach's attorney Robert Sicoli had argued that a conspiracy charge against Leach should be dismissed because it rolled three allegations into one, and only one allegation related to Leach.
Sicoli also argued that fraud charges against Leach involving Hecker's purchase of Suzuki vehicles in 2007 and 2008 should be dismissed because they related to crimes committed after Leach left Hecker's organization in December 2007. Prosecutors argued that Leach was involved in the scheme prior to resigning and so all related charges should stick.
Hecker faces 25 criminal charges for wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and bankruptcy fraud. Leach, who was an executive at Hecker's Rosedale Leasing operation, faces 15 charges. If convicted, they face 10 to 20 years in prison on each charge. Both men have pleaded not guilty.