AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Just days before the trial was scheduled to begin in Amarillo Federal Court, the two legal teams involved in the upcoming jury trial of West Texas A&M Associate Professor Richard Kazmaier are asking the court for another extension of at least one month.
According to documents filed Friday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division, legal teams for both the prosecution and Kazmaier, a Canyon resident and an associate professor of biology at West Texas A&M University, requested a continuance of “at least 30 days” as well as a definite setting on the trial docket in Amarillo Federal Court.
This comes after Kazmaier’s trial was initially set for March 28 and was subsequently delayed until Aug. 2. Kazmaier has pled not guilty to three charges, two of which are alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and one count of smuggling goods into the United States. These charges stemmed from Kazmaier allegedly importing various wildlife items between March 2017 and February 2020.
“The nature of the case involves allegations that (Kazmaier) illegally smuggled wildlife parts from deceased endangered species into the United States without properly declaring the imports or receiving the necessary permits,” Friday’s court documents read.
Kazmaier allegedly imported various animal skulls, skeletons and taxidermy mounts, according to previous reports, facing a maximum of 21 years in federal prison and a $350,000 fine if convicted for all three charges.
According to Friday’s documents, officials said that both the prosecution and Kazmaier’s team have cooperated in the discovery process. Officials are requesting this continuance to “communicate with the necessary third parties and determine the impact of any future actions in this matter on (Kazmaier’s) employment.”
The continuance of 30 days, if approved by Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, the judge in Amarillo Federal Court, would move the trial to the beginning of September. The legal teams for both the prosecution and the defense have listed the following dates as conflicts:
- Aug. 31-Sept. 7;
- Oct. 3;
- Oct. 31-Nov. 2;
- Nov. 14-18;
- A four-week docket beginning Dec. 5.
In a statement provided to MyHighPlains.com when the indictment was released earlier this year, officials with West Texas A&M University said that they are aware of the situation and do not comment on active court cases. Officials with the university also said that the indictment also does not involve the university.
MyHighPlains.com reached out to the university regarding Friday’s development in this litigation. West Texas A&M University has not yet responded to the request for comment.
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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