By Joe Nelson Staff Writer
Posted: 04/22/2011 05:33:24 PM PDT

What happened: Prosecutors request delay of Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin’s preliminary hearing.

What’s next: San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Duke D. Rouse will rule on the prosecutor’s motion on Monday.

Prosecutors have requested that a preliminary hearing for former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin be delayed because a witness is out of state and prosecutors are engaged in another proceeding.

During a brief pretrial hearing Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court, Judge Duke D. Rouse told prosecutor Lewis Cope he would rule on Cope’s request Monday, the day Erwin’s preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin.

A preliminary hearing is when a judge hears witness testimony and weighs evidence to determine if a trial is warranted.

Erwin, 48, of Highland is charged with multiple felonies including conspiracy to commit a crime, bribery, and perjury in connection with a corruption probe involving the county’s $102million settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP in November 2006.

The settlement ended four years of heated legal battle over the scope and control of county flood control easements at the developer’s property in Upland.

Erwin’s attorney, Rajan Maline, told Rouse on Friday he was ready to proceed with the preliminary hearing.

Cope said he needed more time because a civilian witness he plans to call to the stand is out of state and he is involved in another proceeding, which he declined to specify.

Maline says prosecutors have convened a special Grand Jury in the Colonies’ case and could be seeking an indictment against Erwin, which would allow them to go straight to trial.

Cope declined to comment on any recent developments.

“We’re going to make our statements in court about the merits of the case, as where it should be,” Cope said.

Prosecutors allege Erwin and former county Assessor Bill Postmus conspired with five uncharged co-conspirators to have the Board of Supervisors approve a $102million settlement with the developer in November 2006 in exchange for political favors and $400,000 in bribes.

To read entire story, click here.