Thursday, October 14, 2010

Witness glitch delays Leary trial again

by Tom Nadeau

The trial of former Elk Grove City Council member Michael Leary on fraud charges was postponed Wednesday until Oct. 25.

Sacramento County Superior court Judge Gary Ransom delayed the trial start at the request of Deputy District Attorney Michael Blazina.

Blazina said a key prosecution witness was unavailable until then.

Two counts added ...

The prosecution also asked Ransom to add two counts to the four Leary is already charged with. The two were one count of attempted grand theft and one count of actual grand theft. Ransom added them.

The two counts were not additional counts defense attorney William Portanova said after the five-minute pre-trial hearing. The were just different ways of phrasing the counts Leary has already pleaded innocent to. That way the jury will have additional options to consider when they deliberate, he explained.

Leary’s trial will now begin 8:45 a.m. Oct. 25 when an assignment judge in Department 9 will determine which trial judge gets People v. Leary, #09F07685.

It may take a day or two to pick a jury and the trial itself could last three to four days, Portanova estimated.

Leary now faces a total of six felony counts arising from a real estate dispute with his former live-in girlfriend, Alyc Maselli.

Maselli and the district attorney allege that Leary bilked her out of her share of a $610,000 home at 3301 Marina Cove Circle, Elk Grove.

Leary has pleaded innocent to all charges. If convicted, he could face several years in state prison and a fine of up to $75,000. In the meantime, he remains free on bail.

Leary has separately filed a civil counter suit claiming Maselli and ring of women notary executives have joined together to defraud him through an improper title transfer.

He filed the suit in propria persona, that is to say, on his own lonesome, rather that through an attorney.

Portanova skirted comment on Leary’s civil suit, saying his law office was not involved in the matter. It is unclear what, if any, impact this civil suit might have on Leary’s criminal proceedings.

Portanova also said Wednesday that there were no new developments in the allegations that arose about a month ago in which the Fair Political Practices Commission announced it was looking into matters relating to Leary.

Leary’s civil suit – Leary v. North American Title Company, et al, #34-2010-00085705, claims that Maselli along with Abby Patneaud, Catherine Picton and “Does 1 through 15” conspired through North American Title Company to defraud him of an unspecified amount in excess of $25,000.

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