Former Foothills Regional Airport Chairman Randy Hullette has asked for and been granted an extension in filing a response to his federal presentence report.
Federal court documents say the request was made at the end of August and granted this week.
Hullette’s Asheville attorney Sean P. Devereux requested a three-week extension until Sept. 19.
Hullette pleaded guilty Aug. 21, 2013, to embezzlement and witness tampering. He faces a total maximum sentence of 30 years. The charges stem from an FBI investigation of embezzlement from the airport, which is funded by federal, state and local money. Burke and Caldwell counties and the cities of Morganton and Lenoir fund local money to the airport.
In the request, Devereux says Hullette objects to parts of the presentence report. A presentence investigation report, which can contain sensitive information including medical and psychological reports, is required before someone is sentenced. Presentence reports, including Hullette’s, are typically sealed on order of the court.
However, Devereux said Hullette objects to the presentence report because his witness-tampering count is being counted twice. According to the request, it is being counted as an offense of conviction as well as the basis of an enhancement in his sentencing.
Another objection of the presentence report has to do with acceptance of responsibility, according to federal court documents.
Devereux said Hullette has not been provided a complete transcript of the testimony Hullette to the Grand Jury and can’t adequately respond to certain paragraphs of the presentence report without them, according to court documents.
It goes on to say Hullette’s conduct cited as the basis for denial of an adjustment is the same conduct for which he was charged — witness tampering.
“ By his plea of guilty, the defendant has accepted responsibility for this offense,” the court document says. “He has done nothing in the year since that plea to (rescind) his acceptance. He has never been asked to accept responsibility for his testimony before the Grand Jury.”
Devereux also said the plea in the presentence report was negotiated before Hullette was indicted on the charges and it appears that he does not have discovery materials that support some of the factual assertions made by the federal probation officer. He goes on to say the matter is an oversight which he expects to remedy with an informal request to the United States Attorney’s Office.
Devereux says in the court document that he also doesn’t expect there to be a problem with getting a complete transcript of Hullette’s Grand Jury testimony.
The federal court in Asheville holds sentencing every other month, according to court officials. In August, court officials said Hullette is likely to be sentenced sometime in October. The sentencing dates on the court calendar are Oct. 21 or 23, court officials say.
Former airport manager Alex Nelson was sentenced in February to three years in prison and three years supervised probation. He also was ordered to pay $179,781.51 in restitution. Nelson reported to prison in Beckley, W.Va. on June 9. He has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Brad Adkins, former operations manager at the airport, was sentenced June 3 to time served, four months of house arrest and three years supervised release; had to pay a $200 assessment; and jointly pay $85,305.59 in restitution.
The FBI raided the airport in June 2012, seizing files, records, computers, log books and other information. The warrant included records from the airport involving Nelson, Adkins and Hullette defrauding the airport of at least $100,000.