Attorneys want charges dropped
Two prominent Yuba-Sutter attorneys believe their 5-year-old criminal charges should be dismissed because they say the statute of limitations has expired.
Attorneys David W. Vasquez and Jesse I. Santana are charged with trying to buy off a witness in a high-profile 2008 sexual harassment case. Both attorneys were indicted by the Yuba County grand jury 2008, but have never entered a plea.
Michael Barrette, the attorney representing Vasquez, said the case should be dismissed.
"They (the Attorney General's Office) have filed allegations trying to go around the statute of limitations, but we plan to argue for the case to be dismissed," Barrette said.
Authorities believe Vasquez and Santana orchestrated an illegal contract to prevent a sexual harassment victim from testifying against former towing company owner Joseph Griesa in exchange for $100,000. Vasquez represented Griesa while Santana re resented the 17-year-old victim.
Both lawyers are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and dissuading a witness for financial gain. Vasquez faces an additional felony count of dissuading a witness, according to the complaint.
The Attorney General's Office did not respond to requests Tuesday seeking comment. Both attorneys are scheduled to appear March 8 for arraignment in Sacramento County.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal dismissed the indictment last October, saying a Yuba County judge improperly impaneled the grand jury. The Attorney General's Office filed felony criminal charges in Yuba County Superior Court.
All Yuba County judges recused themselves from hearing the case, citing various conflicts.