Prosecutorial-Misconduct1

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 01/27/14, 5:21 PM PST | Updated: 4 hrs ago

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney in the ongoing Colonies corruption case filed a sweeping set of motions Monday, arguing that the case should be dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct, insufficient evidence and the statute of limitations having run out.

Four motions filed by Colonies attorney Stephen Larson allege legal and factual flaws in the May 9, 2011, indictment of Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, whom Larson represents, former county Supervisor Paul Biane, former Assistant Assessor and labor union president Jim Erwin, and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for Supervisor Gary Ovitt.

Larson referred to the prosecution as a “targeted, politically-motivated smear campaign” that has irreparably harmed his client.

State and local prosecutors allege a landmark $102 million settlement between the county and Burum’s real estate investor group, Colonies Partners LP., was tainted by bribery, blackmail and extortion. Prosecutors allege Burum paid to each of the other defendants $100,000 bribes for either their vote approving the settlement or their help in influencing it.

The settlement ended a more than 4-year legal battle over who was responsible for building a 67-acre flood control basin on the Colonies’ 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland, Colonies at San Antonio and Colonies Crossroads, respectively.

All four defendants deny any wrongdoing.

“These motions will prove that four men were indicted for a crime that never occurred,” Burum said Monday. “We can only hope that when it’s over our lives and reputations will be restored.”

Prosecutors declined to comment Monday.

“As always, we continue to be confident in the facts of this case,” District Attorney’s spokesman Christopher Lee said in an email. “We also continue to maintain that in order to protect the integrity of the case and each defendant’s right to a fair trial, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

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