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Thomas brothers seek to delay federal trials on theft charges

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published February 18. 2013 4:00AM

Current and former Mashantucket Pequot tribal officials charged with stealing more than $800,000 from the tribe have asked that their federal trials be delayed for months.

In a filing Friday in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Steven Thomas, the tribe's treasurer, waives his right to a speedy trial and requests that his trial be delayed until Oct. 31. Thomas' brother, former tribal Chairman Michael Thomas, filed a motion to continue jury selection in his trial to July 2.

The brothers, each of whom has been indicted on a single count of theft from an Indian tribal organization and two counts of theft from an Indian tribal government receiving federal grants, pleaded not guilty Jan. 7. At that time, jury selection in their trials was set for March 12.

Steven Thomas requested that his trial be continued "so that my attorney can conduct the necessary investigation, preparation and legal research, as well as all other steps necessary to prepare for trial "

Thomas is represented by New Haven attorney Richard Reeve.

The U.S. government alleges Thomas stole more than $700,000 from the tribe while working as assistant director of its Department of Natural Resources Protection from January 2005 through June 2008. Tribal members elected him to the tribal council in 2009 and re-elected him last November. Councilors named him council treasurer in 2012.

Michael Thomas is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the tribe from October 2007 through April 2009, while he was chairman of the tribal council. Attorneys in the case agreed to postpone his trial in a telephone conference call last week with U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton.

Michael Thomas is represented by Paul Thomas, a federal public defender. The two are not related. The Mashantuckets own and operate Foxwoods Resort Casino.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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