Ky. Chief Charged With Dept. Theft Goes to Trial

LOUISVILLE, Ky. --

A trial date has been set in the case against a former fire chief accused of stealing money from his department and a charity.

Federal prosecutors claim Paul Barth laundered $300,000 from the McMahan Fire District and the Crusade For Children.

Barth was indicted on 16 counts of money laundering last year.

His trial date has been set for Oct. 3, but Barth's attorneys aren't necessarily happy about it.

Barth's attorney, Charlie Ricketts, said his team was looking for a Dec. 3 trial date because they are still asking for certain paper documents they haven't received.

Ricketts said those documents include receipts dating back as far as 2002 and would come from the McMahan Fire District.

He plans to subpoena those records in an attempt to show $100,000 of the money was legitimately spent by Barth.

Ricketts said prosecutors have been cooperating fully over the course of the case, but adds that he is trying to get better cooperation of the fire district, which is now being represented by its third attorney since the matter began.

Meanwhile, in Federal Court Thursday morning, Barth's attorneys mentioned ongoing negotiations with prosecutors.

But as far as a possible plea agreement, Ricketts said his team is only preparing for trial.

"I'd say working towards an agreement begins with the next day following an indictment. You want to find out what the government is offering to make their case. If they can't make their case, then we're doing nothing but trying to get ready for trial," Ricketts said.

Barth was not at Thursday's hearing.

Both sides will be back in court for a status conference at the end of June.

If convicted on all counts, Barth could face a sentence of up to 150 years in prison and $4 million in fines.

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