October 29, 2010 2:05 PM
SAN BERNARDINO • The District Attorney’s confidential informant secretly recorded conversations with embattled former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus for at least 15 months to help advance a far-reaching corruption probe, Senior Investigator Hollis D. Randles testified Friday in San Bernardino court.
The investigative method came to light on the third day of the preliminary hearing for Postmus and his former aid Greg Eyler. The two men face felonies for allegedly defrauding taxpayers through what prosecutors call a conspiracy to use the county Assessor’s office as a political machine.
Defense attorneys spent Friday afternoon raising questions about the credibility of the prosecution’s key witness and once-confidential informant — former assistant Assessor Adam Aleman. In June 2009 Aleman took a plea bargain, agreeing to testify against his former colleagues to lessen his own perjury charges.
While Aleman was cooperating with prosecutors, Stephen Levine, Postmus’ attorney, suggested Aleman “made up” threats against him such as getting bullets and cheese in the mail and suspicious hang-up calls. Randles said he had no knowledge of those specific incidents, but that the District Attorney’s office did collect a mousetrap from Aleman’s door step along with a threatening note. It was Aleman’s fingerprints that were found to be on the note, Randles confirmed.
Levine asked if Randles had heard about Aleman filing a false burglary report in 2006; Randles said he hadn’t.
Through his cross examination, Levine described Aleman’s role in the Assessor’s office: Aleman essentially ran operations in Postmus’ absence, including staff meetings, and Aleman had access to some of Postmus’ screen names and online accounts. Aleman was the creator of the websites Flash Report and Red County San Bernardino.
Prosecutors have argued that Postmus had his executive staffers promote political campaigns and fundraise for his favored candidates on county time using county resources through those websites. Those favored candidates allegedly included Apple Valley Town Councilman Peter Allan, 3rd District Supervisor Neil Derry and Assemblyman Curt Hagman, according to Randles.
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