A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned the trial of former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose to October 20.
Fayose was present in court on Monday but the case failed to go on.
The court adjourned the case at the instance of the Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs who told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke that the prosecution witness who was supposed to testify was not available.
The lawyer said that that the witness had informed him that “one of his family members was being quarantined in the Isolation centre.”
The Counsel subsequently asked the court for an adjournment.
Counsel to the former governor, Olalekan Ojo, did not oppose the request for an adjournment.
Justice Aneke then adjourned the case to October 20 for the continuation of the trial.
At the last sitting of the court on March 5, 2020, the EFCC had called its fifth witness in the N2.2bn fraud trial of the former governor.
The witness, a banker, Johnson Abidakun, who worked as Head of Operations at the Ado Ekiti Branch of Zenith Bank told Justice Aneke how the bank moved the sum of N200m from Fayose’s home sometime in April 2016.
A British judge on Monday delayed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing, which had been due to begin next month, after the coronavirus pandemic prevented him meeting his lawyers.
At a preliminary hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, Vanessa Baraitser agreed to vacate the May 18 start date for the three-week extradition trial, and warned the next time slot was not available until November.
A new timetable for the case will be agreed at another administrative hearing on May 4.
Assange is currently in the high security Belmarsh prison in south London as he fights an extradition request by the United States to stand trial there on espionage charges.
His lawyers said Monday they had been unable to take instruction from the whistleblower since the coronavirus outbreak prompted a nationwide lockdown in Britain more than a month ago.
“There have always been great difficulties in getting access to Mr Assange,” lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told the court.
He said that while detailed counting was ongoing, Abiodun Agbele, (named in the body of the charge) came in with one Taofeek, and gave instructions that the money is to be credited to a company called Still Earth Ltd, with Taofeek as depositor, following instructions by Fayose.
The witness said that after counting the money, it was then deposited in the account of Still Earth, adding that since Taofeek could not write he was assisted to fill same in the bank.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Ola Olanipekun (SAN) the witness told the court that he had never been to the residence of the first defendant before the period the money was conveyed.
When asked if it was the instructions received from Oshode he had passed on, he answered that he only confided in another staff of the bank called Aladegbola Adewale.
According to him, he confided in the said Aladegbola because he (Aladegbola) knew the destination where the money was to be picked up but never knew the amount.
When asked where the said Aladegbola is presently, he told the court that he had resigned from the bank.
White House lawyers began presenting their defence of President Donald Trump on Saturday at his historic Senate impeachment trial for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone began presenting opening arguments at an extraordinary weekend session of the 100-member Senate, which will decide whether the 45th US president should be removed from office.
“You will find the president did absolutely nothing wrong,” Cipollone said.
Democratic prosecutors from the House of Representatives, which impeached Trump on December 18, wrapped up their case for the president’s removal late Friday.
Trump’s lawyers will have 24 hours spread over three days to present their defence of the president to the Senate, where Republicans hold a 53 to 47 seat majority. They plan to speak for up to three hours on Saturday and resume their presentation on Monday.
“The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who says Harvey Weinstein raped her in the 1990s, was called to give evidence in his trial Thursday as prosecutors try to prove the fallen movie mogul was a sexual predator.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping actress Jessica Mann, in the high-profile proceedings seen as key to the #MeToo movement.
Sciorra, best known for her role as Gloria Trillo in American mob drama “The Sopranos,” alleges that Weinstein raped her in her New York apartment on an unknown date sometime in the winter of 1993-94.
Her allegation is too old to be included on the charge sheet but the prosecution has called her as a witness to support a charge of predatory sexual assault.
That charge, which requires prosecutors to prove he sexually assaulted at least two people, carries possible life imprisonment.
In opening arguments, Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast, told the court that Weinstein “violently” raped Sciorra after forcing his way into her home in Manhattan.
He then forcibly performed oral sex on the actress, the prosecution said.
The attack left her “emotionally and physically destroyed” and led her to drink and even cutting herself, Hast added.
Sciorra was too scared to tell the police, the prosecutor said and did not reveal the alleged assault publicly until October 2017 when her account was published in The New Yorker magazine.
Hast also told the court that Weinstein turned up at Sciorra’s hotel room in Cannes in 1997 wearing just his underwear while carrying a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video cassette in the other.
Weinstein’s defence attorneys are expected to ferociously challenge Sciorra’s account.
During opening arguments, lawyer Damon Cheronis said there was no evidence of the alleged attack.
“Because there is no date given we can’t interview people to find out where Harvey Weinstein was that day. We can’t interview neighbours,” he told the court.
Cheronis said Sciorra once told a friend she “did a crazy thing” with Weinstein.
“She didn’t describe it as rape because it wasn’t,” he said.
President Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial begins in earnest on Tuesday in the Senate, with Democrats calling for his removal from office and Republicans determined to acquit him — and quickly, if possible.
Four months after the Ukraine scandal exploded and went on to overshadow the end of Trump’s term, and 10 months before Americans go to the polls to decide whether to re-elect him, the 100 members of the Senate will gather at 1 PM (1800 GMT) with chief justice John Roberts presiding over the trial.
The job of these lawmakers, sworn in last week as jurors, is to decide if Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress as charged in two articles of impeachment approved last month by the House of Representatives.
They state that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 US election to help him win, and then tried to thwart a congressional probe of his behaviour.
It will be only the third time a president has endured an impeachment trial, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.
Part of the scandal centres on a July 25 telephone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential opponent in the November vote.
Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and led the investigation, accuse Trump of manipulating Ukraine by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid for its war against Russian-backed separatists and a White House meeting for Zelensky until the latter announced a Biden probe.
“The president did nothing wrong,” Trump’s lawyers responded in a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate on Monday.
This echoes the repeated assertions of the 73-year-old real estate magnate that the saga is a political witch hunt and a hoax, and that his phone call with the Ukrainian leader was “perfect.”
In the president’s brief, his 12-man legal team contested the very idea of his impeachment.
They called the two articles of impeachment — approved largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House — the product of “a rigged process” and “constitutionally deficient on their face” because they involved no violation of established law.
That team, which has recruited high profile lawyers such as Kenneth Starr, who tried to bring down Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, said in the brief, “The Senate should reject the Articles of Impeachment and acquit the president immediately.”
“President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy,” the House managers said Saturday in a memorandum.
They said the president’s behaviour “is the Framers’ worst nightmare,” referring to the authors of the US Constitution, and that Trump deserves to be removed from office.
But Trump looks almost certain to be acquitted because of the 53-47 Republican majority in the Senate.
He will be abroad as his trial opens; Trump left late Monday for the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.
How long the trial will last is up in the air.
The first order of business Tuesday will be to set the rules, such as how long they will hear the arguments of the House managers, or prosecutors; how long they will hear the defence; the time allotted for questions, submitted by the senators but read by Roberts; and whether they will call witnesses or seek other evidence.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Monday proposed rules calling for each side to have 24 hours over two days to present their arguments. That makes for long trial days stretching late into the night but is a significantly quicker pace than in Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. The chamber will debate and vote on the proposed rules Tuesday.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said McConnell is rushing the trial and also making it harder for witnesses and documents to be presented.
“On something as important as impeachment, Senator McConnell’s resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace,” Schumer said in a statement.
The Democrats want key Trump administration officials to testify, such as acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, in the belief that they know a lot about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Bolton has said he is willing to testify if subpoenaed.
The White House has said it expects the trial to be over in two weeks. Clinton’s trial lasted five weeks.
McConnell has said he won’t consider the witness issue until after the arguments and questioning take place, and his majority means he will likely prevail.
A court in Italy has sentenced a former far-right extremist to life in prison for his part in a bombing at a railway station 40 years ago that killed 85 people.
Gilberto Cavallini, 67, a former member of the far-fight Armed Revolutionary Nucleus (NAR), was convicted for providing logistical support to those who carried out the attack in the northeastern city of Bologna.
On August 2 1980, a bomb exploded in the railway station’s waiting room, killing 85 people and injuring more than 200.
From the 1960s to the start of the 1980s, Italy was hit by more than 12,000 attacks in which 362 people died.
The most notorious act was the kidnapping and assassination of former prime minister Aldo Moro in 1978.
The attacks, aimed at destabilising the government in Rome within the context of the Cold War, were blamed on far-left groups and in other cases, such as in Bologna, on far-right militants.
Cavallini, who has confessed to a number of crimes including robberies and murder, has already spent 37 years in prison and was on day release, Italian media reported.
But he has said he is innocent of involvement in the Bologna attack.
“I’m in prison since September 1983, that’s more than 37 years. These are years in prison that I deserve… I deserve the convictions, but I don’t accept having to pay for what I have not done,” he told the court.
Two NAR members were sentenced to life in prison for the Bologna attack, and a third, who was a minor at the time, to 30 years.
Several others, including members of the security services, received lighter sentences of between seven and 10 years for obstruction of justice.
But some families of the victims believe that the real masterminds behind the attack remain unknown and unpunished.