Yesterday a judge set a Jan. 19 meeting, intending to set a COVID aware trial date with attorneys in the high profile case of former St Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain, who stands accused of four counts of aggravated rape and several other crimes dating back decades.
Judge Bruce Simpson says the two-week trial should be held in the courthouse’s largest courtroom, which may involve some schedule issues in other courts. Assistant 22nd Judicial District Attorney Collin Sims said the district has held other trials during the pandemic and pressed Simpson to schedule a date no later than April. But Simpson said May might be a more realistic month because, hopefully, vaccines for the coronavirus will have been more widely disseminated.
Strain’s attorney Billy Gibbens said that the former sheriff faces a separate federal trial in New Orleans on corruption charges that is scheduled to start April 19. An early- or mid-May start for the state trial would leave little time for preparation, the attorney said.