BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Joran van der Sloot will appear in front of a judge in federal court Wednesday morning where he is expected enter a guilty plea and receive sentencing on fraud and extortion charges.
Van der Sloot has long been the chief suspect in the disappearance of Mountain Brook native Natalee Holloway.
Former federal prosecutor Alex Soto suspects the details of whatever admission van der Sloot is entering to the court, has already been confirmed and verified by the prosecution.
Former U.S. Attorney Jay Town said Wednesday’s hearing will likely not last long, likely less than an hour. Van der Sloot pleaded not guilty in June to the federal charges of wire fraud and extortion. Town said sentencing will likely take place right after the plea.
“If the judge thinks that a pre-sentencing report, if one hasn’t been completed, should be completed, that would probably delay things by three or four weeks. So, that’s really up to the judge, but as it’s set up, I would expect his plea of guilty and his sentence to all be issued,” said Town.
Following a sentencing, van der Sloot will return to Peru to finish out his current sentence for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores.
“The United States is going to make good on that promise,” said Town. “So, whatever he is actually sentenced, I think probably within 24 to 96 hours he’ll be back on a plane and in Peruvian custody.”
Town said van der Sloot will remain in federal custody here until returned back to Peruvian authorities. Van der Sloot has been held in the Shelby County Jail since June.
Getting van der Sloot on U.S. soil is something Holloway’s mother, Beth, has said she considers a significant stride in their journey to justice for Natalee.
Van der Sloot has received a lot of attention as the prime suspect in Holloway’s disappearance, but he’s never been charged.
She disappeared in 2005 while she was on a senior trip in Aruba. A judge declared Holloway dead but her body has never been found.
Van der Sloot is charged with extortion and wire fraud after saying he would lead the Holloway family to her body in exchange for $250,000 back in 2010.
That’s what brought van der Sloot here to Alabama. His extradition to the U.S. is something former U.S. Attorney Jay Town said isn’t typical, but that it was important to the Department of Justice that he endure American justice.
“I hope he serves every minute of it and he still has hell to look forward to someday,” said Town. “The fact that this U.S. attorney’s office and the first assistant Lloyd Peoples and the bureau decided that it was worth bringing him back so that the Holloway family could get closure, that really shows how intent the U.S. attorney’s office is in bringing justice to everyone.”
Today’s court hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. At the Hugo L. Black courthouse in Birmingham.