VERO BEACH — Defense counsel Gregory Eisenmenger predicted during a lunch break Thursday that the jury will come back with a quick, guilty verdict against his client, Ira Hatch.
“I think they’ll come back guilty and we’ll move on to the next step, which is the appellate process,” he said.
Eisenmenger is representing the 62-year-old Hatch pro bono. A former attorney disbarred in Sept. 2007, Hatch is facing 45 felony charges. During the many months prior to the start of the trial, Eisenmenger has continuously objected to things that he felt prejudiced his client and the preparation of the defense. He tried to get the case continued when new evidence in the form of computer hard drives containing financial records of Coastal Escrow Services and Hatch and Doty P.A. were provided to him only the week before jury selection began.
Motions for continuance were denied, as the court time had been booked, court staff was ready and 200 jurors had already been summoned.
“This case has been tried for the appellate court from the beginning,” Eisenmenger said.
A half-dozen or so additional charges were also brought against Hatch at the last minute and the defense had not had time to research the new alleged victims. Those charges were severed and would need to be tried separately.
Assistant State Attorney Lev Evans had said last week that, in the event of a conviction, he would expect that there might be some sort of a plea deal offered on the separate charges.
“The court has not set a trial date for the severed charges. Both sides will look to the outcome of this trial in deciding whether to plea or fight,” Evans said. “If there is a conviction in this case, the sentence will factor into both parties’ strategy. For efficiency, Mr. Colton would likely assign Ryan (Butler) and I to the next trial.”
Eisenmenger said he doesn’t intend to take such a plea deal.
“We’re going to file a motion to dismiss based on double jeopardy, but if that motion is denied then we’ll have to litigate those charges,” Eisenmenger said.