Closing arguments to begin in San Bernardino County Colonies corruption trial – California News

Closing arguments to begin in San Bernardino County Colonies corruption trial – California News




After a one-month hiatus, closing arguments are scheduled to begin Monday in the Colonies public corruption trial in San Bernardino.

The arguments should take at least a week, and then two juries will begin deliberating the fate of the four defendants accused of conspiring to fix a 2006 legal settlement in which San Bernardino County paid out $102 million to Rancho Cucamonga investor group Colonies Partners LP.

Prosecutors have said despite problems with their key witnesses, they can show a paper trail that bribery drove the county Board of Supervisors 3-2 vote for the settlement.

The defense says there was no such payoff, and much of the case rests on two witnesses who had turned state’s evidence and would say anything prosecutors wanted.

The hiatus was to accommodate vacations and other matters scheduled after jurors were told the trial, which began in January, would be over by early July.

But the defense rested July 17, and that was without calling witnesses.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s and state Attorney General’s offices are jointly prosecuting the case.

They allege three county officials each took $100,000 bribes from Rancho Cucamonga developer Jeff Burum to gain approval of the $102 million court settlement over flood control work at Colonies Partners’ 434-acre residential and commercial development in Upland. The bribes, according to prosecutors, were reported as campaign contributions to sham political action committees controlled by those who benefited from the settlement.

Defendants include Burum, former county Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin, former county Supervisor Paul…

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