The Star-News

Defense wants DA off case

Sat, Jun 09 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité

One defense attorney in a Sweetwater corruption probe against two current and two former Sweetwater Union High School District officials recently filed a motion to recuse the District Attorney's Office from prosecution.

Defense attorney Allen Bloom filed the motion Monday afternoon on behalf of his client, Arlie Ricasa-Bagaporo, in downtown Superior Court.

During a May 11 hearing, all four defense attorneys made statements to the judge about the release of a campaign ad by then mayoral candidate District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, claiming it affected their clients’ right to a fair trial.

The ad displayed a statement saying, “DA charges school officials with corruption,” overlaid on a photo of a person getting handcuffed.

“The unethical conduct by Ms. Dumanis was repeated and focused,” Bloom said. “For the purpose of gaining a political advantage she violated her obligations as an attorney.”

Bloom said Tuesday that he expects the other defense attorneys to follow suit.

“As a result of this misconduct, the DA’s Office is now burdened by myriad conflicting interests which threaten to impair Ms. Ricasa’s due process right to a fair trial,” Bloom states in the motion. “Even if Ms. Dumanis loses the election, she will be bound to prosecute this case, despite evidence … just to save face,” the motion read.

Dumanis came in last out of four candidates.

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 in January for their alleged involvement in “pay-for-play,” accepting lavish gifts from contractors doing work with the district. A hearing is set for June 25 at 9 a.m

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