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Man To Change Plea In Princess Cockfighting Case

Steven Dubois, Associated Press
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File photo of a police officer holding a walkie-talkie. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a police officer holding a walkie-talkie. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — It’s been exactly one year since Princess Irina Walker, the daughter of the last king of Romania, was indicted on federal charges that she and more than a dozen co-defendants were involved in a cockfighting business in Eastern Oregon.

The trial is scheduled for July, but one person charged in the case won’t be there for opening statements.

Court documents filed this week show a change of plea hearing has been scheduled next month for Apolinar Munoz-Gutierrez, also known as Polo. He has been in custody since his arrest and has an immigration hold.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer said Thursday he could not discuss terms of the plea agreement until after the June 12 hearing.

Mark Bailey, the attorney for Munoz-Gutierrez, did not return a phone call or email seeking comment.

Munoz-Gutierrez, 38, was charged with unlawful animal fighting and conspiracy to violate the animal welfare act. If Munoz-Gutierrez follows through with a guilty plea, he would be the first person in the case to do so.

At least three defendants pleaded guilty in a companion case from Washington state and had their District of Oregon charges dismissed, court records show.

Irina Walker and her husband, John, face the same accusations as Munoz-Gutierrez, plus the additional charge of operating an illegal gambling business.

Authorities say the couple staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies between April 2012 and April 2013 at their ranch near Hermiston, bringing in as much as $2,000 a day. Blades were attached to the birds’ legs, spectators were charged admission, and food and drink were sold, the indictment said.

They have pleaded not guilty.

Peifer and Irina Walker’s attorney, Per Ramfjord, declined to discuss the status of any plea talks in her case. A 10-day jury trial is set for July 14.

Walker, 61, has lived in Oregon for decades. She is the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I.

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Follow Steven DuBois at http://twitter.com/pdxdub .

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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