For the fourth time in three months, the trial for a former Rogers County commissioner has been rescheduled — this time due to weather conditions.

Jury selection was expected to begin Monday in the trail of former District 3 commissioner Randy Baldridge who is facing nine federal charges. However, due to last weekend’s ice storm, as well as the amount of precipitation expected before Monday, Judge Terrance Kern has moved the trial date to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 29. The trial had previously been scheduled for Oct. 16, Dec. 18, and this Monday.

According to Baldridge’s court appointed attorney Kevin Adams, both sides agreed to the new date, given the circumstances.

“There were some concerns about the new storm coming in and about the jurors being able to make it in,” Adams said Friday afternoon. “The jurors will be coming in from all over northeastern Oklahoma and some of them may not be able to make it Monday. We didn’t have any objection and neither did the government, so the judge moved the date.”

The charges against Baldridge include conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud and receiving money for services not provided, among others.

Jury selection will begin immediately the morning of Jan. 29, and Adams said the remainder of the trial should be under way shortly thereafter.

“I think jury selection, opening statements and the presentation of evidence will take place the first day,” Adams said. According to him, jury selection in federal court is different from the process that occurs in state court.

“Each side is only allowed 15 minutes of voir dire and I don’t think the judge will have very many questions,” he said. “It should go rather quickly, unlike state court where jury selection could take two days or more.”

The U.S. attorney representing the federal government stated in a trial brief filed with the court that they anticipate calling approximately 25 witnesses.

Adams said the defense has more than 20 witnesses listed as well, but that number could be less when the trial actually begins.

“I anticipate the possibility of calling that many witnesses. The trial will probably last one week and could possibly bleed over into the next week,” Adams said.

Baldridge entered a plea of not guilty to the charges at his arraignment in August following his arrest. In December, the government offered a plea bargain which would have required Baldridge to plead guilty to one charge of conspiracy in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining eight charges.

Baldridge said he could not plead guilty to any of the charges because, “I would have committed perjury if I would have pleaded guilty, because I’m not,” he said.

In addition to the charges of conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud, Baldridge is also charged with two counts of tampering with a witness, technically described as “corruptly persuading another person with intent to hinder, delay and prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer of the United States of information relating to the commission of a federal offense.”

In relation to those charges, the government’s brief stated they plan to play recorded conversations which took place in March 2006 between Baldridge and co-conspirator Cindy Rash as well as conversations between Baldridge and co-conspirator Brian Rash. Transcripts of the recorded conversations will be made available to the jury, the brief states.

In addition, the government alleges Baldridge to a trip to Texas to visit co-conspirator Joseph Bentz in an attempt to persuade him not to speak with authorities.

In a trial brief filed by Adams, as Baldridge’s defense, he states “there has been no deal made with any co-conspirator.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Wilson told Adams, “as long as they [co-conspirators] testify truthfully, he has no interest in prosecuting them.”

Adams stated he will be assisted by fellow attorney Michael Romero, who is volunteering his time. In addition, a private investigator hired by Baldridge’s supporters will aid in the case, according to the brief filed.

Baldridge served as commissioner for District 3 for four years before losing his seat in November to Inola resident Kirt Thacker.

Rogers County District Attorney Gene Haynes has taken a wait-and-see approach to the possibility of charging county employees — referred to as co-conspirators in the federal indictments.