After a short hearing in South Lake Tahoe, Judge Timothy Buckley ruled that Supervisor Ray Nutting must face trial on the charges brought by the El Dorado County district attorney and California attorney general.
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Buckley, who is a retired associate justice, was called in for the Nutting case.
Nutting’s lawyer, David Weiner, had asked for a dismissal of all the charges which included four felonies and several misdemeanors.
Buckley said his first inclination would have been to refer the allegations back to the county grand jury with proper instructions, as he said the grand jury had been misled due to improper instructions.
However, the grand jury has since been discharged and the information “tainted” due to widespread discussion of the case, he continued. And since there is probable cause that the defendant did commit the alleged offenses, the judge ruled against the motion to dismiss the case.
However, the judge added that in doing so, he was not determining what the jury would ultimately decide in the case since Nutting’s guilt or innocence would have to be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
With that determined, Nutting then pled not guilty to all the charges and a trial date was set for Feb. 4, 2014 although other hearings for appeals and motions will occur later this year. The trial will take place in Placerville, beginning with jury selection. Deputy district attorney James Clinchard estimated the trial would last three weeks.
Following the hearing, Nutting’s attorney David Weiner noted that the judge ruled against them based on reasonable suspicion but no final judgement as to the merits of the case. “We anticipate prevailing,” he said, adding that, “the truth hasn’t been presented. It’s been one-sided with the grand jury misled with prejudiced and inaccurate information.”