BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A judge has allowed more time for Joran van der Sloot’s attorneys to prepare for a trial involving the alleged extortion of Natalee Holloway’s family.
On Tuesday, Judge Gray Borden granted a request from van der Sloot’s lawyers to allow more time to prepare for the trial. Previously, Borden had set Monday as the deadline for pretrial motions and Sept. 18 as the deadline to inform the court on whether or not van der Sloot would enter a guilty plea.
“Because undersigned counsel, despite due diligence, requires additional time to review the discovery, investigate this case, and prepare for trial, it is in the interest of justice to continue the motions deadline and trial setting,” said Kevin Butler, a federal public defender who is representing van der Sloot, wrote in a motion filed Monday.
Borden has not set the deadline for pretrial motions to be extended to Nov. 13 with any responses due no later than Nov. 20. Borden will set a new trial date in a separate order.
Van der Sloot is charged with wire fraud and extortion charges in a case involving the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, a Mountain Brook native who disappeared in Aruba in May 2005. For years, van der Sloot has been considered the chief suspect in her disappearance, but has never been charged.
Specifically, van der Sloot is charged with promising Holloway’s family information on her whereabouts in exchange for $250,000. After the family’s attorney wired van der Sloot $25,000, he took him to a spot where a house was built, claiming that Holloway was buried under it. However, an investigation turned out that no house was under construction in that spot at the time Holloway vanished.
Van der Sloot later traveled to Peru, where he was arrested and charged with the murder of Stephany Flores.
Van der Sloot is currently being held at the Shelby County Jail while he awaits trial.