Colonies “Corruption” Case Unravels
County Supervisor Josie Gonzales Commits Perjury on the Witness Stand
There can be no doubt that the “biggest corruption case in California history,” as then Attorney General Jerry Brown called it, is collapsing into a gigantic embarrassment for San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos and his minions prosecuting the case.
After more than two months of testimony and twenty witnesses, prosecutors still have yet to present any evidence of any actual crime. Nothing has been presented yet by prosecutors from the District Attorney and Attorney General’s offices of anything other than hearsay and personal opinion from individuals that have included current and former county supervisors, staff, and others.
Worse yet, prosecutors have presented at least one witness that Judge Michael A. Smith declared impeached this week. For the last week, sitting San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales has testified that she was lobbied and pressured by defendant Jeff Burum on an economic development junket to China in 2005.
The problem with Supervisor Gonzales’ testimony is that she was not in China in 2005. When confronted with news reports and county board records of her actual whereabouts, Gonzalez shifted her testimony to 2006. Unfortunately for Gonzales, Burum was not in China in 2006 as both Burum’s credit card records and passport proved. Gonzales then presented a fantastic conspiracy theory that Burum flew his own personal jet to China in an effort to “stalk” her.
Prosecutors were presented with Burum’s records back in 2011, during the original Grand Jury proceedings that led to the indictment of the four Colonies defendants, but never presented that evidence to the Grand Jury. Apparently, these same prosecutors and their investigators either never read the information or developed selective memory before they placed Gonzales on the witness stand, because knowingly presenting false evidence from a witness is a criminal act legally referred to as suborning perjury.
Even if Gonzales had been telling the truth, there is nothing in her made-up testimony that is evidence of any crime. Lobbying public officials is a completely legitimate exercise. Gonzales even went as far as to complain to her friend D.A. Michael Ramos and inform him that she was being intimidated by defense attorney Raj Maline. Ramos ordered his investigators to open a criminal investigation, but upon learning that Gonzales was referring to her grilling on the witness stand during the trial, D.A. investigators quickly closed their inquiry.
The shenanigans don’t stop with this witness. Other prosecution witnesses have responded to questioning with what can only be referred to as testiness. Matt Brown, former Chief of Staff for defendant and former Supervisor Paul Biane, openly contradicted his Grand Jury testimony from 2011. Other prosecution witnesses have also been readily debunked under cross examination by defense attorneys.
But the worst so far has been Supervisor Josie Gonzales. It is apparent that she would say anything to convict the defendants, even make up grandiose stories that would better suit a mystery novel. But as her testimony unraveled, and the prosecution case along with it, this trial is looking more like a bad version of “Matlock.”
Taxpayers should be wondering how much money the District Attorney and Attorney General’s offices have spent chasing unicorns and leprechauns. It is obvious to everyone that they would have better luck looking for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow then they will ever have of proving anyone guilty in this case.