The judge’s ruling followed a March 12 letter Coke’s defence team had submitted, arguing that no evidence existed to support allegations of rape, murder and torture; though prosecutors insist the evidence exists.
Patterson set May 22 for the parties to return to court for an evidentiary hearing on the matter.
Speaking to reporters after the court adjourned, Coke’s attorney, Stephen H Rosen, said Patterson’s ruling “ensures due process and the protection of Coke’s rights”.
He said the US Government may have to “bring witnesses from Jamaica to prove the authenticity of some of the allegations against Mr Coke”.
Failure by prosecutors to do so could — but not necessarily — lead to Coke not being sentenced to the maximum 23 years.
Yesterday, as he entered the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in lower Manhattan, Coke appeared upbeat, greeting family members and supporters with a smile, wave, and a thumbs up. He even blew them a kiss.
Showing signs of weight loss, the only words he uttered were “Good afternoon” in response to a similar salutation from Judge Patterson.
Outside the courthouse, Coke’s supporters, including aunt Angella Jackson, expressed frustration at the delay of the sentencing process. Many in the crowd also interpreted yesterday’s development as a signal that the case against Coke was weak and further evidence that he was not guilty.