Attorneys in the Sweetwater Union High School District corruption case are expected to meet Friday morning to discuss the removal of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis from the high profile case because of a campaign commercial she ran earlier this year.
Defense attorney Allen Bloom said he will ask the court for time to investigate whether or not the DA’s office politicized the case.
He said he filed a subpoena two weeks ago against the “Bonnie Dumanis for Mayor” campaign asking for records regarding the costs and other information associated with advertisements.
According to Bloom, campaign records show that Dumanis spent approximately $180,000 publicizing her tough stance on prosecuting corruption cases. He also estimated that some 500,000 people were exposed to the ad, affecting a large percentage of the voter population as well as potential jurors.
“The willingness of Ms. Dumanis to violate state bar rules is a strong indicator that she has a political motive,” said Bloom, who is representing district board member Arlie Ricasa-Bagaporo.
“The goal is to determine if the political aspirations of Ms. Dumanis have improperly infected the prosecution of this case.”
In documents the attorney said he will present to the court tomorrow, Bloom alludes to selective prosecution by Dumanis.
"Ms. Dumanis is a registered Republican. The defense has also learned, that even before the case was filed, a Republican politician and supporter of Ms. Dumanis, a County Supervisor was herself found to have accepted hundreds of dollars of theater tickets while dispensing grants totaling in the millions of dollars to the very people who provided her the tickets. When a newspaper reporter found that this Supervisor had filed to report these tickets as gifts as required by law, the District Attorney evaluated the case and determined that this Supervisor should NOT be immediately prosecuted, but rather be advised of the violation, and allowed to pay an administrative fine. Several months later, that Supervisor publicly endorsed Ms. Dumanis over all other candidates for major.
"The defendant, with no prior record of any kind, - a Democrat and NOT a supporter of Ms. Dumanis’ campaign, was investigated for failing to report the receipt of dinners and other similar items while dispensing contracts to the people who provided these matters was NEVER advised that she would be able handle these matters administratively but rather was prosecuted and charged with felony charges."
In June Bloom filed a motion to recuse the District Attorney from the case on behalf of his client.
In January Dumanis indicted Ricasa-Bagaporo, current district board president Pearl Quinones, former superintendent Jesus Gandara and former board member Greg Sandoval on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges of corruption. The school officials have been accused of creating a “pay-for-play” atmosphere at the South Bay school district by accepting lavish gifts from contractors doing work with the district.
During a May 11 hearing, all four defense attorneys made statements to Judge Michael Smyth about the commercial, saying it affected their clients’ right to a fair trial.
A spokesman for the District Attorney said their office "cannot coment on a pending case."
Tomorrow’s hearing will be held in department 50 at 10 a.m.