MAHONING COUNTY Ex-attorney's trial delayed once again
A defense motion to dismiss is still pending before the judge.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Another trial date has come and gone for fallen attorney Richard Goldberg.
A trial on criminal charges against the former medical malpractice lawyer was postponed Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. The delay was because Judge Stephen Yarbrough, a visiting judge assigned by the Ohio Supreme Court to preside over the case, is hearing a civil trial.
A new trial date for Goldberg hasn't been set, according to court officials.
Goldberg, 58, formerly of Liberty Township, faces multiple counts of forgery, theft and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Authorities say he bilked former clients out of more than $4 million due them for lawsuit settlements.
The case was set for trial last July and September, but was postponed both times because of pending issues and motions.
Motion to dismiss
Goldberg's Columbus lawyers, Karl H. Schneider and Brian E. Dickerson, have filed a motion asking that the charges be dismissed. They say the state failed to meet its responsibility to bring Goldberg to trial within mandatory time limits.
Prosecutors have filed an objection, and the matter is yet to be ruled on.
At a pretrial hearing in March 2003, Judge Yarbrough asked lawyers on both sides whether a plea agreement is possible. Prosecutors said at the time that any deal would hinge on a requirement for Goldberg to pay back his victims in full.
Assistant prosecutor Jay Macejko said plea negotiations have broken off with defense attorneys.
"Their offer was ludicrous," Macejko said, noting that the defense offered to have Goldberg pay back a total of $1 million over a 10-year period. "They are the kings of fantasy land if they think that offer is anything near what this guy did."
Goldberg is serving a 21-month sentence in the Mahoning County Jail for contempt of court. That sentence was imposed by Judge Timothy P. Maloney of probate court who ruled that Goldberg, while working as a medical malpractice lawyer, kept a total of $1.2 million that should have been paid to clients in four cases.
Before that, Goldberg served some 50 months in a federal prison for charges similar to the ones he faces in common pleas court. He was originally not scheduled for release until February, but Judge Dan Aaron Polster of U.S. District Court in Akron granted Goldberg early release in October 2003.