US court postpones Abidemi Rufai’s fraud trial to 2022

Abidemi Rufai

The US District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma has postponed the fraud trial of Abidemi Rufai, the suspended aide of Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, till 2022.

Judge Benjamin Settle adjourned the trial till February 1, 2022 to give the prosecution and defence time to prepare for the case after the US government presented a 97,000-page evidence against Mr Rufai, court filings obtained by Premium Times showed.

The trial was earlier adjourned till August 31.

Rufai, who was arrested on May 24, is accused of defrauding the US government to the tune of $350,000 in COVID-19 unemployment claims.

Granting the application for the postponement in agreement with the parties, the judge said that the case “is so unusual and complex, due to the nature of the prosecution and the volume of discovery.”

Therefore, “it would be unreasonable to expect adequate preparation for trial within the time limits,” he added.

“The court agrees that counsel cannot reasonably be expected to prepare for trial in the time allowed under the existing schedule, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”

The judge said pretrial motions “shall be filed no later than December 9, 2021” and fixed pretrial conference for January 24, 2022 at 10am.

Rufai will remain in detention until then.