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Ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum has preliminary hearing in 15 months

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Ex-Montreal mayor Michael Applebaum, who faces fraud and corruption charges, will have his preliminary hearing next year in June.

Applebaum was in court Monday for a hearing to map out dates and procedures for his case. He faces 14 charges including fraud, breach of trust, conspiracy and corruption in municipal affairs in connection with two real estate projects in Côte-des-Neiges/NDG where he was borough mayor.

The parties agreed to set aside five days for the preliminary inquiry. Applebaum's lawyer, Jean-Claude Hébert, said they will confirm later if they want a trial by jury or by judge alone.

Two others face similar charges linked to the projects: ex-city councillor Saulie Zajdel and ex-permits director for the borough Jean-Yves Bisson. All three were arrested last June.

Zajdel was also present for this morning's case management hearing. His lawyer Jeffrey Boro said they elected to go straight to trial before judge alone.

"We did not need a preliminary hearing to vet the evidence that the crown had," Boro said.

"The other parties believed that it was in their interest in view of the nature of charges against them to examine the crown's evidence at a preliminary hearing and if that evidence is sufficient, then a trial will be ordered for them."

Boro said since his client will not be having a preliminary hearing, he will have a separate trial, just as he wanted. It's set for three days, also in June of next year.

Boro said he has seen the evidence which is covered by a publication ban.

"I can't tell you very much but I can say that the crown is going to have certain difficulties making their case in this matter," Boro said.

Bisson was not in court. His lawyer said his client is recovering from a serious accident. They will set his court dates later on.

Applebaum and Zajdel sat apart in the courtroom. They did not speak to reporters.

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