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Trial of Genoveva Andrade in Fall River corruption case suspended due to COVID

SE Mass

BOSTON (WPRI) — The trial of former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia’s chief of staff has been suspended until March.

Genoveva Andrade’s trial started Monday, with jury selection continuing throughout this week. But Judge Douglas Woodlock said Thursday the trial would be delayed until March 7 after a witness tested positive for COVID.

A document filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office said a “necessary government trial witness” tested positive on a rapid test, and prosecutors were notified on Wednesday. The witness was not named, and the prosecution has not publicly released its witness list.

“As this witness would have had to have quarantined for a period of time regardless of the outcome of a COVID-19 PCR test to confirm the initial rapid test, the trial cannot proceed on the current trial schedule set by the court,” prosecutors wrote in the motion to the continue the case.

Andrade is charged with extortion, bribery and making false statements in connection with Correia’s government corruption case. Correia was convicted earlier this year of shaking down prospective marijuana dispensary owners for bribes, and for defrauding investors his tech app.

Andrade is only charged in connection with the marijuana extortion case, not the app fraud. She initially pleaded guilty in the case, but her plea deal was thrown out by Woodlock because he disagreed with the negotiated agreement to avoid jail time.

Woodlock noted that the pandemic may still pose problems when the trial re-starts in March. An entirely new jury poll will be used, meaning any jurors selected this week have been dismissed.

“The potential for public health problems remains with us, and we have to remain vigilant,” Woodlock said.

Woodlock also said he intends to hold some hearings between now and the trial in private, excluding the public and the press, out of apparent concern about details of the case being reported in the news. He has also blocked the public and press from accessing the jury selection process, muting the Zoom feed from the courtroom the entire time.

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