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Judge rejects Jaramillo request

The ex-O.C. assistant sheriff's bid to bar county prosecutors from his trial because of conflicts is denied.

January 13, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A Orange County judge on Friday denied a request by former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo to bar county prosecutors from handling the ex-lawman's corruption case because of an assortment of conflicts, including his political and personal ties with the district attorney.

Jaramillo's attorneys wanted the state attorney general's office to take over the case, arguing that their client could not be fairly prosecuted by the Orange County district attorney's office because of their client's relationships with Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Michael S. Carona -- and their political consultant, Michael Schroeder.

"We're disappointed," Brent F. Romney, one of Jaramillo's attorneys, said outside the courtroom after the hearing. "We have grave reservations that the district attorney would treat this case like any other."

After dismissing the request, Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel also pushed back Jaramillo's Jan. 22 trial date to Feb. 26 so that several other motions filed by the defense could be heard.

Jaramillo, who was fired in March 2004, was later charged with taking bribes and obstruction of justice related to his work as a paid consultant for CHG Safety Technologies Inc., a Newport Beach company seeking to promote a laser device designed to stop vehicles fleeing from police.

He is also accused of lying twice to a grand jury, using a department helicopter for personal travel, and ordering deputies to develop his film, research convalescent homes for his mother and attend a relative's graduation ceremony.

Jaramillo has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and is suing to get his job back.

On Friday, Romney argued that Rackauckas "has a motive to discredit" Jaramillo because of potentially damaging information that Jaramillo knows about the district attorney.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Brian Gurwitz described the defense's strategy for recusal as "nothing short of bizarre."

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