The defense team for former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon wants to delay his sentencing so a New York psychiatrist can testify in Cannon’s behalf.
In a motion this week, Charlotte attorneys James Ferguson and Henderson Hill asked a federal judge to move Cannon’s sentencing from Sept. 25 to Oct. 13 so certain character witnesses can attend.
In response, U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney of Charlotte wanted to know who the witnesses are, what they intend to say and why they can’t make the September date.
The defense filed its reply Tuesday afternoon, identifying Richard G. Dudley as a witness it hopes to call. Dudley, a veteran New York City psychiatrist, has experience testifying in trials and has written on the importance of making accurate mental assessments in death penalty cases. It’s unclear what he plans to say about Cannon.
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An overseas vacation and professional commitments prevent Dudley from being in Charlotte for the Sept. 25 hearing, Hill and Ferguson say. Dudley can attend on Oct. 13.
Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Hill confirmed Dudley’s identity but declined to answer other questions.
Cannon, a Democrat, pleaded guilty June 3 to a corruption charge filed earlier this year while he was mayor.
He has confessed to accepting more than $50,000 in bribes from FBI undercover agents, who posed as out-of-town developers. An affidavit in the case also says Cannon solicited $1.2 million in additional kickbacks during a meeting in the mayor’s office. The agents said they needed Cannon’s help in getting approvals for a mixed-used development to be built along a transit line.
Cannon was secretly under investigation when he was elected mayor last year. He was arrested March 26 and resigned from office the same day.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under sentencing guidelines, Cannon faces 63 to 78 months in prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has said the corruption investigation remains open. Both the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County governments have been ordered to turn over a multitude of records related to the investigation. No one else has been charged in the case.
As part of his plea agreement, Cannon admitted taking $2,000 in cash from strip club owner David “Slim” Baucom, who sought help in mitigating the impact to one of his clubs from construction of the Lynx Blue Line light-rail extension on North Tryon Street near Harris Boulevard.
Cannon also agreed to help the federal government continue its investigation. His level of cooperation could lead prosecutors to ask the judge to raise or lower his sentence.