Florence human trafficking defendants file motions for severance

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Tim Staggs (Photo: WHNT News 19)

FLORENCE, Ala. – WHNT News 19 continues to follow developments in the case of two Florence men charged with human trafficking. New documents have been filed in Lauderdale County Circuit Court, asking for the cases to be separated.

According to court documents filed by attorneys for Timothy Staggs, he is innocent of human trafficking and wants his own day in court, separate from Chip Dillard.

Edward "Chip" Dillard (Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office)

Edward “Chip” Dillard (Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)

The motion goes into detail, stating counts 8, 23, and 24 only pertain to Dillard. Attorneys state those counts pertain to alleged sexual contact between Dillard and someone unable to give consent, allegations of threatening a witness, and the threat of violence being alleged against a person who provided information to law enforcement.

The court document also calls into question the ability to refuse to be called as a witness, without self-incrimination. If the co-defendant’s attorney should call the other defendant as a witness, the document states it could be prejudicial with the jury if they refuse to be questioned under oath.

Tim Staggs (Photo: WHNT News 19)

Tim Staggs (Photo: WHNT News 19)

Both Staggs and Dillard were arrested in late May under a 24-count indictment of human trafficking. The indictment states the two men used legal means or money to knowingly recruit women for labor or sexual servitude.

A hearing for the severance motion filed by attorneys for Staggs has been continued.

Attorneys for Chip Dillard filed a similar motion on Monday.

Dates for the motions to be heard have not been set at this time. Staggs is free on bond, while Chip Dillard remains behind bars on bail totaling $500,000.

Both Staggs and Dillard have waived their arraignments and entered not guilty pleas in the case.

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