NEW YORK—The trial for John Liu’s campaign aides took a unexpected turn on the eve of the proceedings and may be postponed until April 15.
Liu’s fundraiser, Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, is currently in a mental health institution, according to Judge Richard Sullivan, who had received a note from Pan’s lawyers.
Pan’s lawyer, Irwin Rochman, said at a pretrial conference Tuesday that after a conversation with his defendant he found Pan to be “weakened, coherent, and intelligent.”
The judge is expecting an assessment from the physicians at the hospital, which has not been identified, on whether Pan is fit for trial. The assessment is due by Feb. 8. If no assessment is received by then, the judge will appoint an expert to assess Pan’s condition. If Pan is found fit for trial either before or after Feb. 8, the judge reserved the option to set an earlier date for the trial.
The trial was originally scheduled to start on Feb. 4.
Wu, as well as Liu’s former campaign treasurer, Jia “Jenny” Hou, are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempted wire fraud. Hou is also charged with obstruction of justice.
The pair was part of an alleged scheme that used straw donors to defraud the city of New York and to accept contributions larger than the maximum legal limit for an individual. The New York City Campaign Finance Board provides matching funds for individual contributions: $6 for each $1 donated up to of $1,050 per donor. By splitting a large contribution into a series of smaller ones, it is possible for a campaign to illegally obtain funds.