Monday, October 4, 2010

Mum's the word on grand jury probe

by Tom Nadeau

A spokesperson for the Sacramento County Grand Jury would neither confirm nor deny whether the investigative body is looking into a rumored probe into Elk Grove City Council member Patrick Hume.

Grand Jury Coordinator Becky Castaneda responded Monday to a query left Friday asking whether it was true, or not true that Hume had drawn the attention of the citizen investigative panel.

"The policy is to make no statements," Castaneda said, pleasantly enough.

However, Hume testified in court and under oath that he had been contacted by the Elk Grove city attorney saying he was the subject of a grand jury query.

The Fair Political Practices Commission recently confirmed that it was looking into allegations concerning Hume – allegations that were brought to its attention by Linda Ford.

Talk of a possible grand jury show-and-tell session with the beleaguered Hume surfaced about that same time.

Not confirming the unconfirmable ...

The Elk Grove News can definitely confirm that it can not confirm that the grand jury wouldn’t confirm the previously unconfirmed verbal report – to borrow a dodge from seasoned public servants.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Thomas Cecil heard three hours of testimony Friday regarding Hume’s relationship with Conley, his former political supporter and campaign worker.

The two have been embroiled in a rather torrid tiff over their split-up apparently brought on by his new alliance with another acquaintance of the female persuasion, one Lisa Lent.

Hume obtained a court stay-away order against Conley – one of those “don’t talk to me because I don’t want to talk to you” court directives – which seemed to have been honored more in the breach than in the observance, since Conley produced in court (and Hume confirmed) a hefty volume containing hundreds of pages of transcribed phone messages, text messages and emails that the two had exchanged.

Both admitted attending political events together when they were legally required to avoid each other as best they could.

A stay-away order is a legal admonition that allows people who have professional roles that make a restraining order too constricting for them to obey – e.g., the two both hold public office and/or work in politics and may be required to be at the same events at the same time.

The stay-away order lets them appear at the same event, with the caveat that they not pester each other while they are there.

Last week, Hume asked the court to extend and toughen the stay-away order. Judge Cecil wondered, Why? – since the two star-crossed ex-friends seemed to keep colliding with each other, anyway.

Cecil said he will have a formal ruling and solution ready by Oct. 8.

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