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Sentencing for Alvin Williams, Staffers, Pushed to September

The sentencing dates for former Sen. Alvin Williams and two staffers arrested with him in November 2012 have changed from July to Sept. 19, according to V.I. District Court officials. The reason for the change was not made public.

The District Court building on St. Thomas was quiet around 9 a.m. Monday, when Williams was scheduled to be sentenced, and guards at the front said there was only one unrelated matter on the calendar for the morning. No one could say what happened, and several documents included in Williams online case file, including a motion and notice of hearing, have been sealed.

One motion to seal was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on July 1, but calls and emails sent Monday for details were not returned.

Williams, along with staffers Kim Blackett and Garry Sprauve, were arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of territorial corruption, fraud and racketeering charges. After initially pleading not guilty, Williams changed his mind in January and asked the court to let him plead not guilty to one federal racketeering charge, which could lead to up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000.

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Sprauve and Blackett followed suit in March.

In the original indictment, Blackett was charged with two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses for the time she spent on the job doing Williams’ work for the University of Phoenix, from which he was seeking online degrees. Prosecuting attorneys have said Blackett was getting paid by the government while using legislative and public funds for doing non-legislative work.

Blackett’s last sentencing date was scheduled for July 27, but was continued after her attorney, Gabriel J. Villegas, was unable to attend the hearing because he had already taken leave until July 5.

The hearing was continued to allow Villegas to be there, and court documents indicated that Blackett’s next sentencing date was July 18. Nothing in her court file indicated why the hearing was moved and attempts to contact her attorney were unsuccessful.

Blackett’s deal has her pleading guilty to one count, which carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a $500 fine.

Sprauve’s court file, however, is more detailed. His attorney David Cattie filed a motion for continuance because he will be out of the territory on "prearranged travel" from July 18 to July 29. Cattie asks in the motion for the hearing to be rescheduled for any time after he returns.

According to the details of his agreement, Sprauve has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to fraudulent claims upon the government for helping Williams solicit a bribe of $10,000, in the form of campaign contributions, from the developers of the Tutu Park Mall wind power generating project.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. He has waived his right to appeal and a trial.

Sprauve was also scheduled to be sentenced on July 18.

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The sentencing dates for former Sen. Alvin Williams and two staffers arrested with him in November 2012 have changed from July to Sept. 19, according to V.I. District Court officials. The reason for the change was not made public.

The District Court building on St. Thomas was quiet around 9 a.m. Monday, when Williams was scheduled to be sentenced, and guards at the front said there was only one unrelated matter on the calendar for the morning. No one could say what happened, and several documents included in Williams online case file, including a motion and notice of hearing, have been sealed.

One motion to seal was filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office on July 1, but calls and emails sent Monday for details were not returned.

Williams, along with staffers Kim Blackett and Garry Sprauve, were arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of territorial corruption, fraud and racketeering charges. After initially pleading not guilty, Williams changed his mind in January and asked the court to let him plead not guilty to one federal racketeering charge, which could lead to up to 20 years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000.

Sprauve and Blackett followed suit in March.

In the original indictment, Blackett was charged with two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses for the time she spent on the job doing Williams' work for the University of Phoenix, from which he was seeking online degrees. Prosecuting attorneys have said Blackett was getting paid by the government while using legislative and public funds for doing non-legislative work.

Blackett's last sentencing date was scheduled for July 27, but was continued after her attorney, Gabriel J. Villegas, was unable to attend the hearing because he had already taken leave until July 5.

The hearing was continued to allow Villegas to be there, and court documents indicated that Blackett's next sentencing date was July 18. Nothing in her court file indicated why the hearing was moved and attempts to contact her attorney were unsuccessful.

Blackett's deal has her pleading guilty to one count, which carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a $500 fine.

Sprauve's court file, however, is more detailed. His attorney David Cattie filed a motion for continuance because he will be out of the territory on "prearranged travel" from July 18 to July 29. Cattie asks in the motion for the hearing to be rescheduled for any time after he returns.

According to the details of his agreement, Sprauve has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy relating to fraudulent claims upon the government for helping Williams solicit a bribe of $10,000, in the form of campaign contributions, from the developers of the Tutu Park Mall wind power generating project.

He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. He has waived his right to appeal and a trial.

Sprauve was also scheduled to be sentenced on July 18.