Federal trial of Makah whalers moved to April

TACOMA — A federal court has postponed a preliminary proceeding for five Makah men accused of illegally killing a whale last Sept. 8.

A hearing on pretrial motions in U.S. District Court in Tacoma that had been set for Jan. 29 has been moved to Feb. 19 and 20.

A pretrial conference is scheduled for March 18, with the trial — originally set for March 18 — to start April 8.

Meanwhile, no new judge has been chosen, nor a date set, for the Makah Tribal Court trial that would take place in Neah Bay.

A pretrial conference that had been set for Tuesday this week was canceled last week, and Makah Tribal Chairman Micah McCarty said Thursday he wasn’t aware of a new date for the session.

Jack Fiander, an attorney who is representing two of the defendants, said Wednesday he expects to be notified of a new conference by the tribal court clerk.

“They will give everybody plenty of advance notice by regular mail, e-mail and fax so they can attend,” said Fiander of Yakima, a member of the Yakama tribe.

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