Thursday, October 21, 2010 – 01:15 p.m.
The final day in the trial of former San Bernardino County Assessor employee and Rancho Cucamonga city councilman Rex Gutierrez had some interesting events of note.
Gutierrez is charged with three felony counts related to alleged time card fraud during his employment under former Assessor Bill Postmus.
Events not covered by the local newspapers of course.
Two significant parts in Wednesdays proceedings was courtesy of key witness Adam Aleman and defense lawyer Jim Reiss.
Reiss recalled Aleman to the stand to further exploit Aleman’s inability to tell the truth.
In particular, Reiss inquired of Aleman as to why he lied to Ted Lehrer about getting married. After all, Lehrer was to be in Aleman’s wedding party. Aleman told Reiss he didn’t want to have anything to do with anyone from the Assessor’s office.
Aleman fell for the bait and was hit with an interesting question. Didn’t you speak to Lehrer last week? “Yes” Aleman replied. Didn’t you text message with Lehrer last week? “Yes” Aleman replied. Aleman ended up admitting he communicates with Lehrer all the time.
A few final questions from Reiss consisted of:
You submitted altered minutes (To the grand jury)? Aleman response “Yes”.
You pled guilty to felony crimes about lying? Aleman response “Yes”.
So you’re a convicted felon that has been convicted for lying? Aleman response “Yes”.
Yet the attorney general told you to tell the truth? Aleman response “Yes”.
In his closing argument, Reiss told jurors he wanted them to see Aleman lie again. “He’s a liar.” “He lied to you again here today.” Reiss said.
The District Attorney and Attorney General appear to be operating in the mode of “It’s a crime if we say it is”. An unfortunate situation to say the least. They know the case stinks and has serious evidentiary issues. Yet they plowed ahead a second time.
A purely politically-driven agenda. Especially since Mandel’s boss, Attorney General Brown, can’t take a hit in his corruption cases before the November 2nd election.
In rebuttal, all Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel could come up with was an outline of a duck to display on the courtroom overhead. After displaying the “duck outline” Mandel told the jury if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.
In referring to the phantom conspiracy I guess.
What’s even more amazing is the prosecution’s ever evolving fantasy theory involving developer Jeff Burum. In the first trial, prosecutors said Burum pulled puppet strings in the Assessors operation.
But now in the second trial Mr. Burum somehow exerts a shadow control over county government.
You gotta be kidding!
What a difference a couple months can make. Puppet strings to shadow control, yet Burum couldn’t even get his own property tax assessments lowered.
Yes, this bizarre story telling is actually occuring. No joke.
All this of course came after Mandel actually fell down on the floor in front of the jury while trying to push the podium closer. It seems the podium fell forward and Mandel went with it.
Reportedly, people in the courtroom, including the jurors, did well to contain their laughter.
Mandel, who seems to naturally have a high-pitched voice, repeatedly raised her voice, when speaking to the jury. And when she does this, Mandel comes across to the jury and courtroom observers as shrill.
The jurors didn’t seem too receptive either.
You would think the prosecution would have learned from the last trial. But they didn’t.
It’s a shame local newspapers have ball and chained themselves to fabricated prosecutions. It now appears these so-called news publications are willing to go down with the ship.
The Daily Press being the only exception.
I’m sure the hype sold some newspapers for the rest. But was it really worth it?
Once again expect either a non-verdict or an acquittal.