NAVAL BASE NORFOLK, Va. — “Fat Leonard” is a liar, the feds botched the probe and the military judge should declare a mistrial, defense attorneys argued on the eve of the first open court trial in the ongoing Navy fraud scandal.

Charged with leaking information to staffers in a now defunct company run by Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis. the trial of Cmdr. David Morales was supposed to begin on Monday.

Instead, pretrial motions and the inability for the Navy to find the right bailiff bogged down proceedings at the courtroom here. If convicted, Morales faces up to 17 years behind bars.

Under military law, the bailiff must be at least equal in rank to the accused, so the Navy had to scramble to get a senior commissioned officer in place in time for trial.

Once the Navy found its bailiff, however, defense attorneys dropped a bombshell, telling Navy trial judge Capt. Charles N. Purnell that they intended to file a motion seeking to declare the court-martial a mistrial. They contend government prosecutors failed to disclose evidence that could clear Morales and painted the portly Leonard, whose health kept him from testifying in court, as a liar.

“We were surprised to find out that Leonard Francis did not tell the truth during the deposition,” said Frank Spinner, a retired Air Force lawyer who is representing Morales alongside Cmdr. Chris Czaplak, the executive officer of the Navy’s Defense Service Office, Southeast.

When questioned during taped testimony in California about a “sex trip” he and Morales allegedly took to Bangkok from June 22 to 23, 2013, Francis fibbed at least 11 times, Spinner told Capt. Purnell.

More troubling, Spinner said, was the fact that Mark W. Pletcher, a federal prosecutor, was present during the deposition and might well have realized that Leonard was lying — or that he came over time to realize it — but he failed to disclose that to the court.

Pletcher did not return telephone messages left at his San Diego office by Navy Times.