The federal trial of former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque on charges of money laundering and stealing federal funds has been pushed back to later this spring.
His trial is now scheduled for the week of May 14 in front of U.S. Senior District Judge Malcolm Howard, according to an order signed Friday by Malcolm. The previous trial date had been in February.
LaRoque, a Kinston Republican, was a state legislator in a prominent leadership role when he was indicted last July on eight counts of theft of government funds and money laundering. He resigned soon after the indictment was handed down by a Raleigh-based federal grand jury.
The federal investigation followed the publication in August 2011 of an N.C. Policy Watch investigation that found he received plush salaries, stacked the board of directors of the East Carolina Development Company and Piedmont Development Company with immediate family members and arranged loans of U.S Department of Agriculture money from his two non-profits to two other state lawmakers and other close associates.
The July indictment accuses LaRoque of using the non-profits to help fund a lavish lifestyle that included buying replica Faberge eggs for his wife, cars, a house for a step-daughters and a roller-skating rink for his family members.
A federal grand jury handed down four additional charges of fraud and tax evasion in December, and LaRoque’s defense attorney Joe Cheshire will need more time to go over new evidence, wrote Dennis Duffy, the assistant U.S. Attorney handling the case.