A judge today scheduled a hearing for July 20 on a motion by former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and co-defendant Antoine Mackey to have their upcoming triple-murder trial moved away from Alameda County.
Bey’s lawyer, Gene Peretti, said outside court that he wants to have the trial moved to another county because of a “barrage of publicity” about the case that he said has “saturated the Bay Area.”
Peretti said he and Gary Sirbu, Mackey’s lawyer, want “a fair trial that’s not biased by the press.”
Bey, 24, and Mackey, also 24, are each charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007.
The trial for Bey and Mackey is still scheduled for Aug. 2, but Peretti said he doesn’t think he’ll be ready then because he just began representing Bey on April 30.
Bey was previously represented by Lorna Brown, but Brown withdrew from the case in April, citing an undisclosed conflict of interest.
At about the same time, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into allegations that an associate of Bey, Gary Popoff, planned to harm a witness in the upcoming murder trial.
According to a summary of a parole revocation hearing for Popoff, Brown helped pass notes written on legal transcripts between Popoff and Bey.
Popoff was recently returned to state prison for allegedly violating his parole for a previous conviction.
The bakery closed in late 2007 after it went bankrupt.
The change-of-venue motion still hasn’t been filed, even though Sirbu first raised the possibility of filing such motion last fall.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson said today that the motion must be filed by July 6 to give prosecutor Chris Lamiero enough time to prepare for the July 20 hearing.