By Will Bigham Staff Writer
Created: 06/10/2011 09:38:59 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – Attorneys for four men charged with bribery and other crimes in connection with the county’s $102 million legal settlement with Colonies Partners LP received transcripts Friday of grand jury proceedings that resulted in a 29-count criminal indictment last month.

An arraignment for the defendants scheduled for Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court was postponed to July 1.

The four defendants are: Jeffrey Burum, 48, co-managing partner of Colonies; Paul Biane, 47, a former county supervisor; Mark Kirk, 36, former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt; and James Erwin, a former county employee who prosecutors allege acted as an agent for Burum prior to the 2006 settlement.

Much of Friday’s proceedings before Judge Brian McCarville centered on the timing and scope of the potential future public release of the grand jury transcripts.

McCarville granted a request from defense attorneys – over the objection of prosecutors – for a delay of three weeks before the transcripts might be unsealed.

By law, such transcripts are typically unsealed 10 days after being given to the defense, McCarville said.

The attorneys asked for the delay to allow time to review the transcripts and potentially make requests for portions of the transcripts to remain under seal.

Given the length of the transcripts, which are 1,200 to 1,300 pages, “three weeks is not unreasonable,” McCarville said.

“I don’t know that there’s anything that shouldn’t be released to the public,” said John Vandevelde, one of Burum’s attorneys. “We just want to read it. We have the right to read it.”

McCarville asked the attorneys to file written motions prior to the July 1 court hearing if they want to keep portions of the transcripts sealed.

The four defendants are out of custody. They sat together during the hearing in the front row of the spectator section of the courtroom.

They spoke little during the hearing. They each agreed to waive their right to a speedy arraignment. Some of the men also spoke to agree to be represented by an attorney other than their attorney of record.

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