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A new pretrial hearing has been set for 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in Municipal Court in the case of Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr., above, and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II in the case of an alleged melee in November outside an Atlantic City casino nightclub.

NORTH WILDWOOD — Attorneys will meet at least one more time before Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. and Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II face trial in a November fight outside a casino nightclub.

A final pretrial conference has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in North Wildwood Municipal Court in the case stemming from the fight Nov. 11 outside Haven nightclub at Golden Nugget Atlantic City.

Gilliam and Fauntleroy pleaded not guilty in December to simple assault and harassment charges.

Video footage released in November shows Gilliam exchanging punches with an unidentified individual and Fauntleroy tossing another man to the ground from behind.

A pretrial hearing teleconference was held Tuesday in front of Municipal Court Judge Louis J. Belasco at which the prosecutor on the case said he had not received any discovery from the attorneys representing Gilliam and Fauntleroy.

The case is being heard in Cape May County to avoid conflicts of interest in Atlantic County.

Ron Gelzunas, the municipal prosecutor for the city of Wildwood, was in the courtroom in person and represented the state.

Christopher St. John, the attorney representing Gilliam, and brothers Matthew and James J. Leonard Jr., the attorneys representing Fauntleroy, participated by phone during the hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes.

Belasco set the pretrial hearing for counsel to agree on issues regarding delivery of discovery and the exchange of witness lists and to discuss a trial date, but the attorneys and the judge did not not cover anything beyond the discovery issues.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office gave Gelzunas two 64-gigabyte thumb drives of digital material from Golden Nugget.

The idea was for the defense counsels to provide hard drives or blank thumb drives, so the material could be copied and given to the defense attorneys.

St. John said he had purchased a couple of thumb drives, which were being mailed out Tuesday to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Fauntleroy’s attorneys said they would send their thumb drives to the prosecutor Tuesday or Wednesday.

Gelzunas said he had not received any discovery from the defense.

James Leonard said when videos are received from casinos, they are encrypted or protected in some way. Sometimes, there is a need for specific software to play them.

Leonard did not know whether that would be the issue here, but he had encountered that on other occasions.

“When you get video from the casinos, typically they will turn over a disc, which will contain not only the video, but it will contain the programs, the data for the programs and the encryptions to actually play the video,” said Matthew Leonard after the hearing. “Typically, Windows Media Player doesn’t work for any of this stuff.”

Matthew Leonard said it is possible this material could be burned or copied incorrectly.

“You don’t want to set it down for a trial just yet. You bring all your witnesses there, and we could end up going there and not having everything in order, or one of us has a video that doesn’t work,” Matthew Leonard said.

During the teleconference, James Leonard suggested another pretrial conference could be held after all the discovery was reviewed and exchanged and before a trial date was set, so that all the parties could meet and discuss whether the matter was indeed going to trial.

St. John and Gelzunas agreed with James Leonard’s suggestion.

James Leonard said he had four matters scheduled for Atlantic City Municipal Court on that date, but he would accommodate the Jan. 29 meeting.

Matthew Leonard said he believes there will be a trial.

“All the parties that you see on the video are going to be subpoenaed to court to testify,” Matthew Leonard said.

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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