Former county supervisor appointed public defender
April 26, 2010 6:00 PM
Brooke Edwards

SAN BERNARDINO • Unable to afford his own attorney, former 1st District Supervisor Bill Postmus will attempt to fight multiple felony charges of bribery, embezzlement, drug abuse and more with the help of a court-appointed public defender.

“I have just gotten to the point of being totally broke due to the extensive legal battle with San Bernardino County,” Postmus said via e-mail, following the surprise announcement during his arraignment Monday morning.

Postmus had to let go of Stephen Levine, the attorney who’d been representing him since charges were filed in February alleging that the former county assessor and his assistant conspired with two Colonies developers to win a $102 million settlement from the county through corrupt means.

The move to representation by the county’s public defender is up for confirmation Friday, to review whether there is any conflict of interest in having a public defender represent the former assessor on such a high-profile case.

“I anticipate the Public Defenders office to recuse themselves from my case on Friday due to issues between myself and PD Doreen Boxer while I was Chairman of the BOS,” Postmus said.

Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope said he had no comment on how the change to a public defender might impact his case, calling the county agency a “very capable organization.”

Jim Erwin, Postmus’ former assistant who was also arraigned Monday morning, is now retaining two independent attorneys, Levine said.

Despite the fact that there are “three large boxes of discovery” materials for the complex case, Cope said the change in attorneys doesn’t necessarily slow down the case, with the next court appearance scheduled for June 3.

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