One-time equestrian star Darren Chiacchia appeared in a Florida court Tuesday. The three-day eventer’s felony trial scheduled for late July has been continued.
Previously represented by a public defender, Chiacchia appeared with new legal representation. Defense attorney Paul Guilfoil asked the court for additional time to prepare for trial saying there were potential defense witnesses that have not been interviewed. The state objected, but Marion County Circuit Judge Hale Stancil granted the continuance.
Chiacchia was arrested in January 2010 after his former male partner alleged Chiacchia didn’t tell him he was HIV positive. He is charged with felony unlawful acts prior to sex.
The prosecution moved to revoke Chiacchia’s bond during the hearing after the Olympic bronze medalist’s failure to appear for a June hearing. Judge Stancil denied the state’s request, adding that he did not believe the defendant’s failure to appear was willful. Chiacchia must continue to wear a GPS ankle monitor.
Chiacchia was arrested in Buffalo on an active warrant issued by Judge Stancil, according to New York authorities. He refused to waive his extradition to Florida and bonded out of jail. Chiacchia appeared last week before Judge Stancil and was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device.
Also included in the last four years of legal wrangling were the dismissal and reinstatement of the case against Chiacchia.
Chiacchia’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August 20. Jury selection could begin in September, according to Assistant State Attorney Brad Robinson. If found guilty, Chiacchia faces a maximum of 30-years behind bars.
At least 35 states have laws that criminalize exposing another person to HIV — whether or not the virus is transmitted, according to ProPublica. In 29 states, the crime is charged as a felony. The law has been on Florida’s books since 1997.