Shaky witnesses, evidence problems mar Colonies corruption trial




Ten weeks into the Colonies corruption trial in San Bernardino, arduous proof displaying a rich developer bribed former county officers has but to emerge, and prosecutors stay vexed by shaky witnesses within the almost decade-previous case.

Because the trial started on Jan. four, 19 witnesses for the prosecution have testified, however strong proof backing allegations that defendant and Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum paid $one hundred,000 bribes to every of the opposite three defendants has not been produced.

“This courtroom has bent over backward to permit the prosecution to usher in a circumstantial case. We at the moment are on the two-month anniversary of the beginning of this trial, and we’ve got but to listen to a single piece of proof from anybody saying that anyone was bribed,” Burum’s lawyer, Stephen G. Larson, advised Decide Michael A. Smith Wednesday, March eight, outdoors the jury’s presence.

• Associated story: County supervisor grilled throughout Colonies corruption trial over truthfulness of testimony

Additionally charged within the case are former county Supervisor Paul Biane, former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, former chief of employees for erstwhile county Supervisor Gary Ovitt.

A number of key witnesses referred to as to testify, together with county Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who begins her fourth day of testimony on Monday, seem to have finished little to advance the prosecution’s case, and no documented proof proving a quid professional quo occurred among the many defendants has emerged up to now in the course of the trial.

Gonzales’ inconsistent testimony relating to the yr she claims she encountered Burum in China is the newest hurdle prosecutors have needed to clear. On Tuesday, she stated the yr was 2005, however when Burum’s attorneys produced proof she was stateside in 2005, she recanted and stated the yr was 2006. Burum’s attorneys allege Gonzales is mendacity and made the story up, and query why prosecutors are eliciting the testimony concerning the China journey from her.

Deputy Lawyer Basic Melissa Mandel stated throughout Wednesday’s courtroom proceedings that it was improper for the protection to say that prosecutors knew one thing was fallacious with Gonzales’ testimony however launched the proof anyway. She stated there have been different conflicting accounts concerning the journeys to be explored, and that’s what the trial was for.

• Associated story: Supervisor Gonzales testifies about China journey in Colonies corruption trial

Gonzales testified earlier than the indicting grand jury in 2011 the China encounter was in 2006, however three years later, when challenged by Burum’s lawyer in a courtroom movement that Burum was not in China in 2006, modified her story and stated it was 2005.

Burum has maintained he was by no means in China in 2006. His former lawyer, John Vandevelde, included that info in a letter that was submitted to the grand jury in April 2011 in a packet of exculpatory proof.

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Gonzales’ testimony is merely one instance of the issues prosecutors have…



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