By PE News
August 19, 2011 11:25 AM
A San Bernardino County Superior Court judge dismissed the majority of charges against Rancho Cucamonga businessman Jeff Burum this morning, handing a major blow to prosecutors in the Colonies bribery case.
Judge Brian McCarville tossed out of five of the seven counts filed against Burum in May when a grand jury indicted him and three former county officials of taking part in a scheme to net Burum’s company, Colonies Partners, a $102 million settlement.
Prosecutors contend the deal, approved by the Board of Supervisors in November 2006, was brought out through extortion and bribery by Burum.
Also charged are former Supervisor Paul Biane, former assistant assessor Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt.
McCarville also dismissed one count each against Biane, Kirk and Erwin but the three still remain charged with several felonies.
McCarville made the ruling after defense attorneys filed motions, called demurrers, challenging the charges on several legal grounds.
The defense attorneys accused prosecutors of overreaching and charging their clients with counts that should not apply to them, conspiracy in particular.
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