Federal Judge Curtis Collier has denied another delay in the trial of Sen. Jerry Cooper (D-Smartt), who asked for the continuance based on the General Assembly being in session at the time the trial is now set.
Judge Collier said in a four-page memorandum, "So long as the charges remain a cloud of doubt will hover over defendant's head and will breed distrust not only of defendant but of the entire state legislature.
"Resolving this matter will best serve the interests of the state of Tennessee, and the general public, than a continuance."
He said the trial will go on as planned on March 5 at Chattanooga.
Judge Collier said it is a complex case, but he said it had already been postponed once and the defense will have enough time to prepare.
He said the public "has an interest independent from a criminal defendant to a speedy trial of criminal cases."
Attorney Jerry Summers earlier said state law grants legislators continuances in legal cases while the Legislature is in session. He noted that Federal Court is not bound by the state law, but he asked the judge to abide by it.
The indictment says Cooper used his political ties while trying to sell a lumber mill he owned to Anthony and Teresa Auyer of Alabama. The Auyers were convicted earlier in the case.
Attorney Summers had asked for a delay until after May when the General Assembly is out of session.