The federal trial of a Cushing fishing boat captain accused of causing the death of two crew members when his lobsterboat sank during a November 2014 gale has been postponed until May.

Jury selection for the trial of 29-year-old Christopher A. Hutchinson was scheduled to be held Feb. 5, with the trial beginning Feb. 20.

At the request of the defense, the trial was postponed until May 14.

In a request for the continuance, defense attorney Michael Turndorf of Portland said he needed more time to recover from knee surgery. In addition, Turndorf stated that the U.S. Attorney's Office was considering appealing the ruling issued Jan., 17 by U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby, which restricts the federal government's ability to use results of a blood test done on Hutchinson after his rescue.

Hutchinson is charged with two counts of seaman's manslaughter in the deaths of Tom Hammond, 27, of Rockland, and 15-year-old Tyler Sawyer, who lived in St. George and Waldoboro. They were crew members aboard Hutchinson's lobsterboat, No Limits, which sank Nov. 1, 2014.

Hornby ruled that Coast Guard regulations do not compel a seaman to submit to a blood test. He also ruled that the consent received from Hutchinson was not voluntary.

The investigators also failed to get a warrant from the court to obtain the blood sample and there were no exigent circumstances requiring the test before a warrant was obtained. The government also did not have probable cause for the draw at the time it was taken, Hornby ruled.

The U.S. Attorney's Office can only use the results of the blood test at the upcoming trial if Hutchinson testifies and states that he did not use any drugs.

An appeal would go to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

On the night of the sinking, one of two drug dealers who is alleged to have provided oxycodone to Hutchinson contacted Sawyer's father and suggested that he ask the Coast Guard to test the captain for drugs, according to a filing in court by the prosecution. The father contacted the Coast Guard and a blood sample was drawn shortly before Hutchinson was released from the hospital in Portland.

The prosecution maintains that Hutchinson purchased 20, 30-milligram oxycodone pills from two separate drug dealers, smoked marijuana with Sawyer's father, and drank a rum and coke at a Rockland restaurant on Halloween, according to papers filed in court by the U.S. Attorney's Office. He then departed for a fishing trip at 1 a.m. Nov. 1 from Linda Bean's dock in Tenants Harbor as rain began falling.

The emergency position-indicating radio beacon from the vessel activated at 1:30 p.m. that day, when the vessel sank. A Coast Guard helicopter located Hutchinson in a life raft without a survival suit or life preserver at 4 p.m. The bow of the No Limits was spotted by the helicopter at 5 p.m. with no signs of life. The helicopter diverted from a search for the two missing crew members in order to take Hutchinson to the hospital for treatment of exposure and a cut to his head.

The prosecution states in a court filing that Hutchinson admitted to Tyler Sawyer's father, Travis Sawyer, during a Nov. 2, 2014, telephone call and in person on Nov. 3 that Hutchinson was "dirty" at the time of the sinking.

Hutchinson admitted to attorneys for his insurance company Dec. 11, 2014, that he had taken the oxycodone and smoked marijuana. The Cushing man also told Coast Guard investigators Jan. 13, 2015, that he knew what the blood test would detect, telling them that he bought the painkillers off the street for back and shoulder pain, according to the government.

The charges carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.