Arizona official seeks trial delay in human trafficking case

Arizona official seeks trial delay in human trafficking case
Maricopa County Assessor Paul D. Petersen and a woman have been indicted on fraud charges in connection to his adoption business. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - An Arizona official charged with running an adoption-fraud scheme involving women from the Marshall Islands has asked an Arkansas court to delay trial for 10 months.

Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen is accused of smuggling and paying pregnant women from the small nation in the western Pacific to give up their children for adoption in the U.S. He faces a total of 62 charges in Arkansas, Arizona and Utah.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a motion filed Monday asked the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville to push the 44-year-old adoption attorney’s trial from Dec. 9 to October. The motion said the defense investigation will require work in at least three states and possibly the foreign nation.

Arizona officials have suspended Petersen from his assessor position.

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