Mark Shelnutt, attorneys to have pretrial conference Nov. 6

ariquelmy@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 6, 2009 

Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt has one more scheduled federal court appearance before his Nov. 9 trial.

In a Tuesday order, U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land scheduled a conference between attorneys for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 6.

At that hearing, Land will examine issues to expedite jury selection and the trial.

Shelnutt was accused in a May indictment of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, money laundering, witness tampering and attempted bribery. The indictment alleges a connection between Shelnutt, a defense attorney, and Torrance Hill, whom Shelnutt represented. Hill pleaded guilty in 2006 to drug charges and was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in prison.

Several defendants indicted by a federal grand jury are linked to Hill and what authorities have called the largest drug bust in Columbus.

Two of them, Shawn Bunkley and Santwan Holt, already have pleaded guilty to drug charges; Holt was sentenced in June to just less than four years in prison.

Two others, Choici Lawrence and Latea Davis, were put on pretrial diversion on Friday. The status is similar to probation, in that if they successfully complete their supervision, their charges will be dropped.

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