10:09 PM PDT on Monday, November 1, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enteprise

Two prosecution witnesses secretly recorded conversations with former San Bernardino County Assessor Bill Postmus, a district attorney’s investigator testified Monday.

Matt Brown, former chief of staff to Supervisor Paul Biane, recorded two conversations with Postmus, once in November 2009 and then again in January 2010, said Hollis “Bud” Randles, a senior district attorney investigator.

Randles completed his fourth day of testimony in a preliminary hearing to determine whether Postmus, 39, and Greg Eyler, 34, a former taxpayer advocate in the assessor’s office, should face trial on corruption charges. Postmus is accused of using his office for personal and political gain.

On Friday, Randles revealed that Adam Aleman, a former assistant assessor, also secretly recorded conversations with Postmus.

Aleman recorded Postmus seven times between October 2008 and May 2009, Randles said. On two occasions Aleman met with Postmus in a restaurant and taped their meeting with a hidden digital recorder while the other conversations were on the telephone, Randles said.

The investigator did not testify about what was discussed or who asked the men to record their conversations with Postmus.

Defense attorneys for Postmus and Eyler accused prosecutors of misconduct in not revealing the recordings prior to the hearing.

“From the get-go, it should have been disclosed,” said Stephen Levine, Postmus’ attorney.

Stanley Hodge, Eyler’s attorney, asked Judge Michael A. Smith to consider a motion to recuse the district attorney’s office from the case. He said he believes the office cannot prosecute the case fairly.

Smith told Hodge to file a written motion to allow the district attorney and attorney general offices an opportunity to respond.

Prosecutors have promised to turn over the recordings to the defense.

The question of whether the district attorney’s office has turned over all required evidence to the defense has been an ongoing source of tension during the four-day hearing, which is expected to continue today and through Wednesday.

“We’ve provided a lot of discovery (evidence) that counsel claims they did not get,” Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope responded at one point.

Postmus is charged with four counts of misappropriation of public funds, one count of perjury, two counts of grand theft, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia for unlawful use.

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