Muncie mayor’s trial on federal charges delayed until May

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A central Indiana mayor’s federal trial on charges of accepting a bribe has been pushed back for several months.

Defense attorneys for Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler requested the delay on the trial that had been scheduled to start Jan. 21, The (Muncie) Star Press reported. Indianapolis attorneys James Voyles and Jennifer Lukemeyer told the judge they needed more time to review evidence and “to negotiate a plea agreement with the government or adequately prepare for trial.”

Judge James R. Sweeney II signed an order Friday rescheduling the start of Tyler’s trial for May 25 at U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. Federal prosecutor didn’t object to the delay.

Tyler was arrested in November after a federal grand jury indicted him for theft of government funds, alleging he accepted a $5,000 bribe from an unidentified company in exchange for the awarding of a public works contract in Muncie. The charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

Tyler is a Democrat who has been mayor for eight years after serving in the Indiana House. He did not seek reelection this year and will be replaced as mayor Jan. 1 by Republican Dan Ridenour.

Tyler’s indictment came amid an ongoing federal investigation that has resulted in Muncie’s former building commissioner pleading guilty to money laundering and wire fraud.

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