At the request of indicted lobbyist Rusty Cranford, a federal magistrate in Springfield, Mo., on Monday delayed his trial on conspiracy and bribery charges until Sept. 24.

Cranford, accused of conspiring with other executives of a healthcare company and state legislators to make illegal payments in return for benefits to the company in state Medicaid business and allocation of surplus money, had asked for the delay because he said he expected a new indictment to bring additional charges and he’d need time to prepare. Prosecutors didn’t object, but no superseding indictment has yet been filed.

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Three former legislators — Micah Neal, Eddie Cooper and Henry Wilkins — have pleaded guilty to charges in cases in which Cranford is involved. A fourth, Jon Woods, was convicted at trial.

Cranford is in custody because of an allegation that he’d taken steps to have an adverse witness killed. He has other legal complications — a pending divorce case in Benton County, where his estranged wife says Cranford has fallen behind in making required support payments. An order has been issued in that case putting under seal any information that might be gathered during discovery about Cranford financial dealings or contracts with his former employer. (Thus if there was any agreement on severance or payment of attorney fees, it couldn’t be known by the public.) Cranford’s lawyer noted in response to a motion that he be held in contempt that his employment was terminated after a federal magistrate ruled he should be detained pending trial.  Also in that case, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who had been listed as one of Cranford’s attorneys in the case, asked May 11 that he be allowed to formally withdraw as counsel. His motion said he’d withdrawn as Cranford’s counsel more than a year ago.  Hutchinson, it was reported recently, appears to have a connection with one of the criminal cases involving Cranford.

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