California Supreme Court

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 11/02/13, 5:44 PM PDT |

The future of a San Bernardino County corruption case involving a $102 million legal settlement between the county and a Rancho Cucamonga developer, allegedly tainted by bribery and extortion, lies with a decision by the California Supreme Court.

The state’s highest court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys in Sacramento — the latest chapter in a legal battle that has spanned years and millions of dollars in San Bernardino County.

Each side will be given 30 minutes to present its arguments to the seven Supreme Court justices, who will issue a written decision within 90 days, court spokesman Cathal Conneely said.

Specifically, the justices will determine if a defendant accused of giving a bribe can be charged with aiding and abetting the receipt of the same bribes he is accused of giving.

But at stake is more than that in a battle that has had many chapters.

The court is the final stop on the appellate trail that will determine if prosecutors can move forward with a criminal case more in line with the sweeping corruption case they originally charged, or proceed with a case significantly weakened by the dismissal of bribery-related charges against their key defendant.

“This is the right case for this court to offer guidance on these important issues, and it comes at the right time,” according to the prosecutors’ petition. “This high-profile public corruption case is being closely watched, and will be used as a benchmark to inform the conduct of both public officials and those seeking to influence them as to what acts they can commit without subjecting themselves to prosecution.”

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