A federal judge on Tuesday pushed back the possible trial for Natalee Holloway suspect Joran van der Sloot to fall.
The order comes after Joran van der Sloot filed a waiver of his right to a speedy trial on Tuesday. Van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the May 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba during a Mountain Brook High School, Alabama, senior trip.
He’s being charged with extortion and wire fraud after allegedly attempting to sell Natalee’s mother, Beth Holloway, information regarding the location of her daughter’s body.
Federal prosecutors allege that the Dutch national asked for $250,000 — $25,000 upfront for the information, and the rest to be paid out when the body of Natalee Holloway was positively identified.
Prosecutors say that van der Sloot lied to Beth Holloway’s lawyer, John Q. Kelly, about where her daughter’s remains were located.
During a June 9 arraignment, van der Sloot pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to prosecutors, the alleged extortion scheme took place between March 29, 2010, and May 17, 2010.
He was temporarily transferred from a Peruvian prison to American custody on June 8 by FBI agents.
Van der Sloot walked into the Birmingham courtroom confidently with a smirk on his face, with Beth Holloway’s eyes on him for most of the arraignment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gray Borden said in the ruling that the deadline for pretrial motions is extended to Sept. 11.
A specific trial date will be set by a federal judge, Borden wrote.
“Given the defendant’s need to adequately prepare his defense and to make an informed decision on whether to enter a guilty plea or proceed to trial, the court finds that the ends of justice served by extending the pretrial deadlines and granting a continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial,” Borden wrote.
Following van der Sloot’s first appearance in federal court, Beth Holloway said in a statement that the “wheels of justice have finally begun to turn for our family and we are getting our long-awaited day in court.”
“With the felony arraignment complete, prosecution of this criminal case has officially begun. Joran van der Sloot’s not guilty plea is not disheartening to us, it simply means that his legal team is going to try to make the state prove the case against him. We are confident the U.S. Attorney’s office in Birmingham, Alabama will succeed in getting a conviction, and we are very grateful to them for their hard work on this case,” Beth Holloway said.
“As I’ve said before, I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this summer, I have been without her for exactly 18 years. She would be 36 years old now. It has been a very long and painful journey, but we are finally getting justice for Natalee,” she added.