By Joe Nelson, The (San Bernardino County) Sun
Created: 05/24/2012 10:56:14 AM PDT

The attorney for Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum, accused of bribing public officials in a sweeping San Bernardino County corruption case, said Thursday that his push to obtain additional evidence from prosecutors is winding down.

“We finally have been able to meet with the District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday this week. We had a productive meeting,” Stephen Larson, Burum’s attorney, said outside the courtroom of San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael Smith after a brief pretrial hearing Thursday.

Larson is trying to compel state and local prosecutors to produce unredacted transcripts of law enforcement interviews with key witnesses Bill Postmus and Adam Aleman, the county’s former assessor and assistant assessor of support, respectively.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors have been working to resolve the issue for four months.

Larson said he feels confident the matter will be resolved by the next court hearing scheduled for June 8.

Larson and lawyers for the other three defendants – former county Supervisor Paul Biane, former Assistant Assessor of Operations Jim Erwin and Mark Kirk, former chief of staff for county Supervisor Gary Ovitt – appeared at the brief hearing Thursday.

The only defendant present was Biane, who has been present at every court hearing since his arrest last year.

Burum, co-managing partner of investor group Colonies Partners LP, is one of four men charged in a bribery and conspiracy case tied to the county’s $102million settlement with Colonies in November 2006.

Prosecutors allege Burum paid bribes to Postmus, who at the time of the settlement was chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, Biane, Kirk and Erwin, who mediated settlement negotiations on Burum’s behalf.

All four defendants deny any wrongdoing. In March 2011, Postmus struck a plea agreement with prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges of accepting a bribe from Burum in exchange for his vote approving the landmark settlement.

He has agreed to testify against the defendants at trial and continue cooperating with authorities in the investigation in exchange for reduced charges.

Larson and the other defense attorneys say the prosecution’s evidence hangs on the testimony of Postmus and Aleman, who they say repeatedly lied to authorities and the Grand Jury.

Most recently, Postmus told federal investigators during an October interview he had used methamphetamine at least a dozen times in 2011, even after he had been charged and convicted for crimes tied to the Colonies’ case and a companion criminal case in which he was accused of abusing his elected office of county assessor for political gain.

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