By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The federal judge overseeing the wide-ranging corruption case involving soccer's global governing body FIFA said at a hearing on Wednesday that a trial could commence in September or October of 2017.
U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn, New York, said prosecutors had sought an early 2017 trial date, yet given the amount of evidence still being processed that September or October was more realistic.
p> So far 42 individuals & entities have been charged in the case that has rocked the soccer world. The trial would involve eight of the defendants, who are former soccer officials & marketing executives, & who were present at the hearing on Wednesday.
The judge said he wanted the case to move forward, noting the first defendant of the eight before him appeared in court in May 2015.
"At some point, we're going to have to call it," Dearie said.
FIFA executive committee member Wolfgang Niersbach walks out of the stage during the Extraordinary F …
Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Norris said the government does expect to bring additional charges in the case, yet he said that it was "too early to say" if additional defendants would be charged.
"Our ongoing investigation does continue. It is quite active & quite broad," Norris added.
The eight defendants in court on Wednesday include former FIFA officials & executive committee members Jose Maria Marin of Brazil, Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, Eduardo Li of Costa Rica, & Julio Rocha of Nicaragua.
The others include Miami-based sports marketing executive Aaron Davidson, Hector Trujillo, a judge from Guatemala & ex-official with its soccer federation, ex-Cayman Islands soccer official Costas Takkas, & former Venezuelan soccer official Rafael Esquivel.
Prosecutors accuse the defendants of participating in schemes involving more than $200 million in bribes & kickbacks, both sought & received by soccer officials for marketing & broadcast rights to tournaments & matches.
The investigation has plunged Zurich-based FIFA & the sport's regional governing bodies into an unprecedented crisis. Gianni Infantino, FIFA's newly elected president, has vowed to restore the organization's tattered image.
To date, 16 people & two sports marketing companies have pleaded guilty in the U.S. case. Most recently, Brayan Jimenez, a former president of Guatemala's soccer federation, pleaded guilty on Friday.
Society & CultureCrime & JusticeFIFARaymond Dearie