Former Gov. George Ryan's trial on federal racketeering charges is scheduled for March 14, 2005.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer set that date Friday, but she told lawyers for Ryan and his co-defendant, lobbyist Larry Warner, that she would prefer to get the trial under way this fall.
Ryan defense attorney Dan Webb had asked the court for 14 months to prepare the complex case, while Warner's lawyer wanted to go to trial immediately.
The judge set the 2005 date after ruling that the two would be tried together. She said that separate trials would overtax both the court and prosecutors.
Ryan and Warner are charged with racketeering and other offenses as part of the government's six-year Operation Safe Road investigation of corruption in state government.