By BEN SCHMITT
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
A federal judge this morning ordered embattled political consultant Sam Riddle to stay off all social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
The order came during a hearing in Detroit before U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn on a request to delay Riddle’s criminal trial in connection with the Synagro scandal.
Cohn said he would not delay the Jan. 5 jury selection date. He then ordered Riddle to stay off Twitter and other sites. Cohn had previously been concerned that Riddle was generating excessive pretrial publicity by posting updates on his case on Twitter and Facebook.
After Cohn’s ruling, Riddle’s lawyer John Minock said he believed the judge told Riddle not to use the sites at all.
Riddle said an order telling him not to tweet would be a violation of his First Amendment right.
“I will go to jail before I have my First Amendment rights abridged,” he said.
Paul Egan / The Detroit News
Detroit — A federal judge is to hear arguments Friday on political consultant Sam Riddle’s bid to push back his January trial on extortion related charges stemming from his time as a top aide to former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers.
Riddle attorneys John Minock and Edward Wishnow filed court papers Wednesday saying they haven’t had enough time to pore through evidence in the case, such as recordings of more than 21,000 Riddle phone calls intercepted by FBI wiretaps.
Riddle’s trial had been expected to start Jan. 12 before U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn. But Cohn said in an order today that to allow time for jury selection, testimony isn’t expected to start until Jan .19.