Schedule for Bashara trial to be set next week

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published August 7, 2012

 Robert Bashara stands with his new attorney, Mark Kriger, in front of Third Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny Aug. 7.

Robert Bashara stands with his new attorney, Mark Kriger, in front of Third Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny Aug. 7.

Photo by David Schreiber

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Robert Bashara, 54, of Grosse Pointe Park will be back in court again soon as he learns what the schedule is going to be for his trial on a felony charge of solicitation of murder.

Ushered into the courtroom in his jail uniform, Bashara was arraigned in front of Third Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny Aug. 7. Kenny was sitting in for Judge Bruce Morrow, who was originally scheduled to handle the arraignment on information.

Bashara’s new attorney, Mark Kriger, waived the formal reading and entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client. Kenny then scheduled a calendar conference for Friday, Aug. 17 in front of Morrow. The calendar conference is a proceeding in which the attorneys set court dates, Kriger explained.

Robert Moran, an attorney with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, told the judge he intended to provide discovery materials later in the day.

Bashara is accused of meeting with and paying someone to kill Joseph Gentz, 48, of Grosse Pointe Park, who is currently in jail on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the case of Jane Bashara, Robert Bashara’s wife. Gentz, a handyman who worked for Robert Bashara, reportedly told law enforcement officials that he strangled Jane Bashara on Jan. 24 at her husband’s behest. Some reports have indicated that Gentz said Robert Bashara forced him to commit the murder at gunpoint, while others suggest Bashara offered him a couple thousand dollars and possibly an older model car as payment for the crime. In past interviews, Bashara’s former attorney, David Griem, and Bashara himself both denied these reports and said Bashara had nothing to do with his wife’s death. At press time, Bashara had been named of person of interest by police in his wife’s murder, but hadn’t been charged in connection with it.

After court, Kriger was decidedly more tight-lipped than his predecessor, Griem, who had previously been representing Bashara along with Christina Utley.

“I don’t talk about pending cases,” Kriger told reporters outside of the courtroom.

The attorney said he had just completed a six-week federal trial and was still getting up to speed on the Bashara case.

“I haven’t even gotten discovery yet,” Kriger said.

At press time, Bashara remained behind bars at the new Wayne County Jail downtown, where he’s being held on a $15 million cash or surety bond. Bashara is in the same cell once occupied by former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

“He’s holding up,” Kriger responded to reporters when asked how his client was doing.
 

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