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Judge delays key hearing in Graziano murder-for-hire case

LARGO — A hearing scheduled for Friday in Ed Graziano's murder-for-hire case will be postponed until May, a judge decided Wednesday morning.

Graziano's attorney, John Trevena, is asking the court to dismiss the charges against his client because, he says, Pinellas deputies entrapped him and investigated a case primarily based in Hillsborough County.

He has also filed a motion to suppress the testimony of the state's main witness, a private investigator hired by Graziano to follow his estranged wife, Debra. The private investigator later became a confidential informant for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office after Graziano allegedly approached him about trying to hire a hit man to kill Debra.

Those matters were to be heard during Friday's hearing, which has been rescheduled for May. 18.

At a hearing Tuesday, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Timothy Peters declined to postpone the court date but agreed to rehear the matter Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser explained he needed more time to prepare, because he did not receive Trevena's motions until Jan. 25, more than a month after the hearing was scheduled.

Peters said May was the earliest he could reschedule the hearing without disrupting his trial calendar.

"With all due respect, Mr. Trevena. … You should have filed it earlier," he said.

Trevena responded that the contents of the motion should not have come as a surprise to the state.

Judge delays key hearing in Graziano murder-for-hire case 02/03/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 2:45pm]
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