A county supervisor was found not guilty on most felony charges Wednesday morning.
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A jury found Supervisor Ray Nutting not guilty of counts 1, 2, 4 and 11 — filing false documents, a conflict of interest vote and a charge of soliciting a loan from a county contractor or employee.
He was found guilty of counts 5 through 10, misdemeanor charges of accepting loans from county employees or contractors.
Count 3, a filing of false documents charge, ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury. District Attorney Vern Pierson confirmed it was a charge concerning filing for the Proposition 40 grant reimbursement money for clearing land on Nutting’s ranch. He also said that the jury was split 7-5 in favor of guilt.
Sentencing will take place on June 6, where the prosecution will announce whether they will refile count 3 for a retrial. The DA’s Office previously announced that no matter the outcome for the trial, they would seek a civil case to remove Nutting from office; civil liability is easier to prove than criminal liability.
However, according to government code 1770 (h), the office could be vacated due to a “conviction of a felony or of any offense involving a violation of his or her official duties.” Government code 87461 reads, in part: “no elected officer of a state or local government agency shall, from the date of his or her election to office through the date he or she vacates office, receive a personal loan of five hundred dollars ($500) or more, except when the loan is in writing and clearly states the terms of the loan, including the parties to the loan agreement, date of the loan, amount of the loan, term of the loan, date or dates when payments shall be due on the loan and the amount of the payments, and the rate of interest paid on the loan.” Exempt are loans to the campaign committee of an elected officer and loans made by family, “provided that the person making the loan is not acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not otherwise exempted under this section.”
According to testimony, the loans were never made in writing and some were given to Nutting’s wife, Jennifer, to be given to him.
Nutting said he was under a gag order about the actual trial due to the mistrial charge, but said that his 10-year-old son, Chase, was worried. “I just want to let him know it’s going to be OK,” he said. He said he was thinking of his son and wife, Jennifer, and that now the healing process can begin.