SENTENCING POSTPONED OF 5 MEBA OFFICIALS

SENTENCING POSTPONED OF 5 MEBA OFFICIALS

The sentencing of five former maritime union officials convicted on federal racketeering charges has been postponed so the judge can hear post-trial motions, a government official said Tuesday.

The decision applies to C.E. "Gene" DeFries and four other former officials of District 1/Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. They were convicted July 5 on nine counts of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, embezzlement and extortion.Mr. DeFries, the former president of District 1/MEBA, and the other officials were scheduled to be sentenced over the next two weeks by U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. All of the defendants face at least four years in prison and forfeiture of assets they took illegally from the union.

The judge approved the postponement at a hearing after defense lawyers said they needed more time to file motions related to the sentencing and forfeiture. A forfeiture hearing was scheduled for Nov. 15, but sentencing may not occur until December, the government official said.

Meanwhile, Jesse Calhoon, MEBA's president before Mr. DeFries, was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator with the DeFries group in a document filed last month by the Justice Department. To make that designation, prosecutors must provide a judge with evidence that an individual may have committed a crime.

Mr. Calhoon was one of 28 people from the union listed as co-conspirators with the DeFries group. He was apparently named because of allegations, referred to during the trial by prosecutors, that he had participated in vote- tampering schemes in the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Calhoon denied those allegations. He said in an interview that he was named a co-conspirator after a member of the prosecution team called him to ask why Mr. DeFries had placed him on the defense team's witness list.

"I think that's what it was," he said.

Also on the list is Angelo Arcidipane, the managing partner of Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin, the D.C. law firm that represented District 1/MEBA while Mr. DeFries was president. Mr. Arcidipane, through a spokesman, has denounced his listing as unfair and denied involvement in any crimes.

According to the document, "the government reserves the right to call any of the identified co-conspirators during trial." Nine of the people on the list are to be tried in the next phase of the DeFries prosecution.