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Defense work on behalf of a Bloomington police sergeant accused of rape will start over with a new lawyer hired by Pelo’s family.

Sgt. Jeff Pelo, 42, was in court Thursday with Glenview attorney Michael Rosenblat, the third attorney to sign on with the case since Pelo’s arrest last summer. The defense team of Jay Elmore and Michael Costello, attorneys from Springfield, asked to withdraw from the case because of financial difficulties the family experienced with legal bills.

Bloomington attorney Steve Skelton left the defense effort in February because of health concerns.

After Thursday’s hearing, Rosenblat said Pelo is anxious for the case to move forward.

“Obviously we want to get to the trial soon so Mr. Pelo can get back with his family and get back to work,” said Rosenblat.

Pelo is charged with a series of sexual assaults against four women in Bloomington between December 2002 and January 2005. The foundation for the prosecution’s case is identification of the police officer in photo and voice recordings by several of the rape victims, Skelton said previously.

The tab for legal fees could easily amount to six figures, according to estimates from defense attorneys.

Rosenblat declined to answer questions about the arrangements he made with the Pelo family for his services. The attorney met with Pelo before Thursday’s hearing.

Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Messman said investigators will continue to development information in the case.

An August jury calendar setting scheduled by Judge Robert Freitag seems unlikely in light of the voluminous discovery materials and the fact that Roseblat said he has not started his review of the documents and other materials.

A June 21 status hearing is scheduled.

Pelo is on paid administrative leave from his $81,000-per-year position with the police department. He must raise $200,000 to be released on a $2 million bond set in the case.

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