GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Moss Point Mayor Mario King and wife Natasha King are in talks with prosecutors on a plea negotiation for the 14 federal charges of fraud they are accused of.
Paperwork filed in the U.S. District court this week requested the judge to push back proceedings, citing ongoing plea negotiations as the reason.
The motion filed by Calvin Taylor - who represents Mario King - also states that the attorney has recently been exposed to COVID and is currently under quarantine.
Those motions were granted by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden on Tuesday.
This is the second time the mayor and his wife have requested to have the trial moved. The Kings were originally set to go to trial on Sept. 14 but an earlier request from the Kings asked to push that date back so they would have more time to prepare. That request was granted and the trial date was set for Nov. 4, 2020, with a plea hearing scheduled for Oct. 13.
The Kings are now set to enter their plea on Dec. 15, 2020, with a trial date scheduled for Jan. 4, 2021.
The 14-count indictment was filed in federal court on April 28, 2020, alleging that the Moss Point mayor and his wife solicited funds beginning in 2018 from a benefit gala but did not use that money for its intended purpose, which was to support a mental health program for Moss Point School District.
Money from that benefit was reportedly used by the Kings for various personal expenses, including the down payment on a new car, cash withdrawals, and paying credit card charges that were used to purchase a pedigreed dog.
The mayor and his wife are facing 13 federal charges of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
To read the full indictment against the Kings, click HERE.