HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg pastor Kenneth Fairley, who was convicted of defrauding the U.S. government tied to money from the Housing and Urban Development agency, is asking for a continuance for his sentencing.
Fairley, 62, is set to be sentenced Monday, Dec. 19, at the United States District Court William M. Colmer Federal Building in Hattiesburg, and now wants that moved to sometime in January 2017.
He was found guilty on Sept. 12, 2016, of conspiracy to commit theft of government money, and two counts of receiving, retaining, concealing or converting money that belonged to the government.
On Monday, Fairley filed a motion in federal court to continue the sentencing, and cites multiple reasons for his request.
- As the Court is aware, there have been multiple objections by Kenneth Fairley to the Pre-Sentencing Report prepared in this matter, including specific objections to the “loss” calculations, and the total guidelines calculations. The U.S. Probation Office filed its “Addendum to the Presentence Report” on Dec. 8, 2016. As can be seen from that addendum, the Probation Officer rejected all of the substantive objections made by Fairley. Accordingly, a sentencing hearing will be required in this matter, to resolve those objections.
- The sentencing hearing in this matter will involve not only contested issues of law, but also contested issues of fact, some of which are complex in nature, and will require expert testimony.
- Accordingly, in an abundance of caution, council submit that in order to provide effective assistance to their client, it will be necessary to obtain the presence of witness for the sentencing hearing, including an expert appraiser, for the purpose of offering testimony as to the fair market value of certain property that plays a critical role in determining the appropriate sentencing guidelines in this case.
- Counsel for Fairley will need to offer witness testimony with regard to the highly speculative nature of the Probation Officer’s determination that “the defendant should be held accountable for an additional $118,637.60 in intended loss.”
- In addition, Fairley has retained additional counsel, being Herbet V. Larson, Jr. to assist him with sentencing, and with his appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. “However due to long-standing travel plans, Larson would be unable to attend Fairley’s sentencing if it were to be held as scheduled.”
- Lastly, Fairley is currently undergoing extensive medical testing, to further diagnose and treat his current extensive medical problems. A delay in sentencing should allow him to complete that process before beginning any prison sentence, should one be imposed.
- Counsel for the government has been advised of this request for a continuance, and has stated that the government takes no position with regard to it.
"Kenneth Fairley requests as order from the Court continuing his sentencing from December 19, 2016, to a date in January, 2017 to be fixed by the Court," according to attorney Arnold Spencer.
District Judge Keith Starrett has not yet ruled on the continuance motion at this time.