Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/20/2012 12:11:17 PM PDT

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday lifted bail for four defendants in the Colonies Partners corruption scandal, freeing them from having to pay an annual bond premium as the one-year anniversary of their arrest nears.

On behalf of defendant and Colonies’co-managing partner Jeff Burum, attorney Stephen Larson said Burum poses no flight risk and has abided by the terms of his bail since posting bond on the $10 million bail days after his arrest last May.

Larson also spoke on behalf of the other three defendants – former county Supervisor Paul Biane, former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt. Their attorneys joined Larson in his motion.

“We believe it’s appropriate to release them on their own recognizance,” Larson told Judge Michael A. Smith. He said requiring each defendant to continue paying the annual bond premiums would pose financial hardship on them.

Prosecutors did not oppose the move on condition the defendants continued to abide by the travel restrictions previously imposed upon them by the court. They are not allowed to leave the country while their case is being adjudicated and must notify prosecutors if they plan to leave the state.

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