Superior Court Judge Roger Krauel maintained his tentative ruling today, denying a motion to overturn a decision saying six former retirement trustees must go to a full trial.

The defendants asked Krauel to review records of the pre-trial, challenging an order by Judge Frederick Link that the defendants face corruption charges in a jury trial.

According to his tentative ruling, Krauel maintains evidence in the pre-trial provides rational ground to assume the defendants acted under criminal conflict of interest for a pension funding arrangement in 2002.

During oral arguments, defense lawyers again questioned whether a violation was even committed. Defense Attorney Frank Vecchione argued the pension benefits should be considered as salary, which is exempted from the conflict of interest rule. He pointed to legislative bodies as an example of a government entity voting for its members own salaries.

Deputy District Attorney William LaFond, however, maintained that the issue is in the “commingling” of interests.

“They were all aware their pension benefits hung in the balance,” Le Fond said.

Defense attorneys plan to file an appeal some time this week. Pending the appeal, a trial date is set for Jan. 24.

“I’m looking forward to the next step of the trial process,” Prosecutor Stephen Robinson said.

MARNETTE FEDERIS

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