A Romanian court has postponed until May 20 its decision on an appeal by the country’s most powerful politician against his 3 ½ year prison sentence for official misconduct in a graft case.

A few supporters of Social Democratic Party leader Liviu Dragnea scuffled with police Monday outside the courthouse as he entered.

Critics fear the delay endangers Dragnea’s 2018 conviction, linked to the employment of two party members at a public agency, because the anticipated June 1 retirement of one the five judges hearing the appeal could potentially lead to a re-trial.

Liviu Dragnea, left, the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic party, arrives escorted by police officers for court hearing in a trial in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Liviu Dragnea, left, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, arrives escorted by police officers for court hearing in a trial in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Also, a decision by the Constitutional Court due May 19 may invalidate Dragnea’s conviction if it finds that the three-judge panel involved did not meet certain legal conditions.

Dragnea was convicted of vote-rigging in 2016.

Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic party, leaves escorted by police officers after a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, leaves escorted by police officers after a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A woman holds a photo of Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic party, before a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A woman holds a photo of Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, before a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic party, center, arrives escorted by police officers for a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania Monday, April 15, 2019 as opponents of his party chant slogans and hold banners that translate
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, center, arrives escorted by police officers for a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania Monday, April 15, 2019 as opponents of his party chant slogans and hold banners that translate “No criminals in public office” and “I insist for the rule of law”. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Supporters of Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic party, chant slogans during a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Supporters of Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, chant slogans during a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Gendarmes drag a supporter of Liviu Dragnea as brief scuffles erupted before his court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Gendarmes drag a supporter of Liviu Dragnea as brief scuffles erupted before his court hearing in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic party, left, arrives escorted by police officers for a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic party, left, arrives escorted by police officers for a court hearing in Bucharest, Romania Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Tags: Categories: Europe World

Featured Video