Friday, September 10, 2010 – 08:15 a.m.

Remember John Hueston?

Hueston is the high-profile Democratic Party heavyweight Orange County lawyer who convinced the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to hire him for a mission to pursue civil litigation against former County Assessor Bill Postmus and several of Postmus’ former office aides.

In convincing the board of supes to contract for his services, John Hueston presented himself as the federal prosecutor who five years ago secured convictions in jury trials against executives related to the collapse of merchant energy generator Enron.

Among John Hueston’s supposed achievements was the multiple-count conviction on federal fraud charges of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling.

With a resume – at least on paper -like that, it is no wonder that in announcing the selection of John Hueston to pursue civil action against Bill Postmus and others, the board heralded Hueston’s hiring. Here is a press statement from Chair Gary Ovitt celebrating John Hueston’s assignment to prepare a lawsuit against Bill Postmus:

“The county is fortunate to have a former federal prosecutor with such a vast amount of experience investigating…Assessor Bill ostmus…The County is confident that Mr. Hueston will provide the board with the best information possible so that if the board prceeds with removal (of Postmus), the board’s case will be solid and withstand any potential legal challenge.”

“Withstand any legal challenge”? Yes, that most certainly would be important in the appointment of a special counsel. However, this summer, the US Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Ruth Ginsburg, the Supreme Court unanimously nullified Skilling’s honest services fraud conviction.

That would be the fraud conviction “won” by supposed super-lawyer John Hueston.

Indeed, legal analysts an court observers believe that each of John Hueston’s 19-count conviction will be overturned as a direct result of Hueston’s inability to properly apply federal law in securing convictions.

One such observer, Houston-based litigator Tom Kirkendall stated “the government’s case against Skilling continues to look shaky in other respects. Largely overshadowed by the Supreme Court’s decision is the fact that the Fifth Circuit’s previous opinion invited Skilling to file a motion for new trial in the District Court based on issues of prosecutorial misconduct that Skilling raised after discovering the evidence after the trial. Specifically, the Fifth Circuit was particularly concerned about the failure of the Enron Task Force to comply with federal rules requiring the disclosure of exculpatory evidence to the defense from the Task Force’s pre-trial interviews with main Skilling accuser and admitted felon, former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow.”

This is with whom the Board of Supervisors entered into an agreement.

This season’s stunning developments regarding the work of John Hueston mean that Hueston failed as a prosecutor in his former assignment, and his claim to be a lawman who busted Enron is now a fantasy, as it is all but certain that Hueston’s prized collar is about to be set free.

Locally, now that it’s a given that John Hueston’s signature criminal case has now failed “to withstand” a court challenge at the highest level, it appears the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent for John Hueston to compile an unproven incendiary “report” that unfairly blasted the offices of Supervisors Paul Biane, Brad Mitzelfelt and Neil Derry in an attempt to smear those associated with Bill Postmus is an absolute waste of county money.

The lawsuit based upon John Hueston’s now-questionable “report” is nothing more than a document built upon the reputation of a lawyer whose proudest achievement is now unraveling before our eyes. If his case against Enron is collapsing – as it is – how can San Bernardino County trust this Orange County interloper, who is being tasked with pursuing litigation against several former county officials and their own highly-regarded attorneys?

With the US Supreme Court’s ruling, San Bernardino County government cannot trust John Hueston to successfully litigate anything.

In the coming days, this blog will detail more about John Hueston’s Enron criminal case problems, as well as the more important detail as to how San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors can sever their relationship with him and how they can recoup money expended to him.

John Hueston is sounding more and more like a snake oil salesman from the days of yore who thought he could dribble into a remote town or rural outpost and hoodwink the locals into spening their fortunes on a miracle elixir.

John Hueston is not the attorney he says he is, and it is time for the County to take action to prevent him from ripping off our taxpayers any further.