The Louisville Metro Council Court has rejected a motion to delay the removal trial of Councilwoman Judy Green, D-1, by a unanimous 17-0 vote.
Last week, Green’s attorney, Derwin Webb, filed a motion requesting a postponement due to the embattled councilwoman being hospitalized for an undisclosed medical condition. Grilled by city lawmakers for almost an hour, Webb would not provide them with specific information about Green’s illness and said it was unclear when she would be available to help with her defense.
“I respectfully ask that you grant my motion for continuance, set it for an appropriate date and have an opportunity for Dr. Green to get well and be able to attend the proceedings,” he said.
Green is facing two misconduct charges filed by five council colleagues, who impeached her after the Metro Ethics Commission found she deliberately violated the ethics ordinance in two separate cases. Green is appealing both of those decisions in Jefferson Circuit Court.
Webb did present the council with an affidavit signed by Dr. Wayne S. Gibson, who is a cardiologist, that said he has been Green’s doctor for several years, she was treated during a hospital stay and that her participation in the trial would create “undue stress” that would not be in her best health interest.
During a sometimes contentious meeting, Webb asked that the hearing be rescheduled for September 26 after Green meets with her doctor to find out if she could move forward. However, several city lawmakers called the affidavit vague and were not satisfied with the argument.
“Are we supposed to just wait until Dr. Gibson says it won’t be stressful,” asked Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, chairman of the council court. “It’s always going to be stressful.”
Other council members questioned if granting the extension would create a perpetual date for the trial to begin after already pushing back the trial date last month.
“If we receive information two weeks from now that Councilwoman Green is still not physically able to participate then here we are again rescheduling, extending on down,” said Councilman Tom Owen, D-8. “My concern is that could be infinite and a series of ongoing delays.”
When lawmakers inquired about Green’s condition, Webb said he wanted to respect her privacy and that council members could contact her physician to try and obtain that information.
Attorney Gregg Hovious, who is prosecuting the case, says the doctor’s statement didn’t provide any evidence of an actual illness that was cause to postpone the trial further, adding the community has waited long enough to hear the misconduct charges against Green.
“The affidavit really didn’t say anything and provided in my view clearly insufficient proof of an inability to either help her counsel or to be here herself. There was just no evidence of that,” he says. “The city is tired of hearing about this story and the people of Louisville would like to get it over with.”
It is unclear if Webb will file another motion seeking a delay if Green’s doctor provides more medical information, but he is extremely disappointed in the council’s decision, adding it will make defending her case more difficult.
“I think it’s unwarranted and a little unfair that I have to possibly proceed without my client actually, physically being there. It’s not a certainty but I will tell you this I have not had an opportunity to speak with my client regarding the removal as of two weeks ago,” he says.
The expulsion trial is scheduled to begin September 12.