Attorney wants to move Gibbs' assault trial
The Associated Press FARGO -- The attorney for a former Barnes County jailer charged with sexually assaulting five female inmates is asking a judge to move the trial out of Valley City. Defense attorney Ross Brandborg of Fargo filed a motion Mond...
The Associated Press
FARGO -- The attorney for a former Barnes County jailer charged with sexually assaulting five female inmates is asking a judge to move the trial out of Valley City.
Defense attorney Ross Brandborg of Fargo filed a motion Monday asking for a change of venue in the Sept. 17 trial for Moe Gibbs, who has pleaded not guilty to six felony char-ges.
Brandborg filed a second motion to hold five separate trials instead of one.
Prosecutor Jonathan Byers, an assistant attorney general, said he would oppose both motions.
"I don't care to do that," Byers said Monday about Brandborg's requests to Southeast District Judge Mikal Simonson.
Brandborg did not return a phone message on Monday.
Gibbs, 34, is scheduled for a second murder trial on Oct. 22 for the death of Valley City State University student Mindy Morgenstern. A deadlocked jury could not reach a decision on the first trial.
Brandborg said in court documents that the result of the first murder trial and the media coverage would make it difficult for Gibbs to receive a fair trial in Valley City.
"A suggested place to move the trial is either Fargo or Bismarck, but Mr. Gibbs would not object to any relocation away from Valley City," Brandborg wrote.
In arguing for separate trials, Brandborg said it wouldn't be fair to lump the cases together.
"These incidents are all alleged to be separate incidents, occurring at different times, with different people," Brandborg wrote. "There is too much risk that the jury will project Mr. Gibbs' behavior from one alleged victim to another."
Byers said he would file his response within 10 days.
Gibbs is accused of sexually abusing five female inmates at the Barnes County Jail between May and September 2006.
Byers said he expects the second murder trial to begin Oct. 22, when jury selection is scheduled to start.
"I'm believing that these two trials are totally independent of each other," Byers said.
Gibbs also has been charged for a 2004 rape in Fargo. He has pleaded not guilty. A trial date has not been set.