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Leon Houston’s federal firearms trial postponed

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By Damon Lawrence

Leon Houston’s federal trial on a firearms charge, scheduled to start this week, has been postponed.

He filed a motion for a continuance on July 25.

According to court records, the government didn’t object, and the motion was granted by U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley Jr.

Houston, who is in custody at the Blount County Jail in Maryville, is charged in federal court with possessing a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance and threatening to kill attorney James Logan via telephone.

The trial on the firearms charge was scheduled for Tuesday.

A separate trial for the alleged threat against Logan was scheduled for Sept. 24.

Shirley reset the trial on the firearms charge for Sept. 24 and instructed the parties to hold Nov. 4 on their calendars as an alternative trial date on the second charge.

All trial dates in the case are subject to change.

On July 10, Shirley approved funding so Houston can hire an investigator.
Houston complained Shirley waited too close to the Aug. 6 trial date to approve the funding.

“Although the court authorized funding for an investigator on July 10, 2013, once the defendant had complied with the requirements for seeking such funding, the defendant states that he has not been able to hire an investigator to date,” Shirley said in his order postponing the trial.

“The court finds it unlikely that an investigator could complete an investigation of the case in the 10 days remaining before the Aug. 6, 2013, trial date,” he continued.