Judge again delays sentencing date in Davidson case

A federal court judge reluctantly delayed until January a sentencing hearing for Donald Davidson, after the real estate consultant's new lawyer complained that he had yet to receive all the trial transcripts needed to prepare for the proceedings.

The pre-sentencing memo filed by the Bureau of Probation and Parole recommends that Davidson receive a 63-month sentence for his convictions of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud for attempting to bribe then-Las Vegas City Councilman Michael McDonald in 2002.

Davidson dumped attorney Dominic Gentile shortly after jurors found Davidson guilty July 17. In August, Davidson hired Clark Derrick, a Phoenix-based lawyer, to represent him during his sentencing. It is unclear why Davidson, 73, chose a new attorney for his sentencing hearing. Davidson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Because of the change in lawyers, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Hunt moved Davidson's sentencing from Oct. 26 to Dec. 21. But on Nov. 14, Derrick filed a motion complaining that he had not yet received the trial transcripts.

Derrick wrote that despite his "continued and diligent efforts" to obtain all the documentation he needs to prepare for the trial, Gentile hadn't turned over the limited case file he had until Oct. 15. Gentile, according to Derrick, was moving into a new office, and that apparently had made locating the file difficult.

Also, many of the transcripts sought by Derrick never had been obtained by Gentile. Derrick has requested those transcripts from court reporters, but they are tied up in a Reno trial and will be unable to provide him with the documents until after Dec. 21, Derrick said.

On Nov. 19, Hunt denied Derrick's request for an additional 90-day delay, noting that "while the entire trial transcript may be necessary for an appeal, the Court has never before had a request for an entire transcript for purposes of a sentencing, much less a need for one."

Derrick filed another motion on Nov. 21 asking for 30 days, placing the sentencing date on Jan. 24, and Hunt granted that postponement on Nov. 27.

"This court found that the trial transcripts are not necessary for purposes of the sentencing hearing," Derrick wrote.

"While this may be true where the same defense attorney represents a defendant at trial and sentencing, it is not the case where, as here, defense counsel did not represent the defendant at trial."

A 2005 indictment charged Davidson with paying former Clark County Commissioner Erin Kenny $3,000 a month after she helped guide through a vote to allow a much-opposed casino in the Spring Valley neighborhood. Triple Five Development, a company for which Davidson served as vice president, pitched the project.

In superseding indictments, the government accused Davidson of paying Kenny $200,000 in exchange for her assistance in approving a zoning change allowing for a CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Buffalo Drive and Desert Inn Road. The government contended that Davidson arranged the payment and that his son, Lawrence Davidson, established an account to conceal the ill-gotten funds.

Lawrence Davidson disappeared before the trial began in June, and he remains a fugitive.

In that same indictment, Davidson was charged with attempting to bribe McDonald.

Jurors deadlocked on the 18 charges related to Davidson's dealings with Kenny, saying they did not believe the government's star witness.

Davidson's trial followed the political corruption trial involving Kenny and former commissioners Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, Lance Malone and Dario Herrera. Malone was accused of delivering cash bribes from strip club owner Michael Galardi to the three commissioners. Galardi and Kenny pleaded guilty and are serving 30-month prison sentences. Kincaid-Chauncey received a 30-month sentence, Herrera is serving a 51-month sentence and Malone recently began a six-year prison term.