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MODESTO AND COUNTY DAMAGED REPUTATION NOT NECESSARY

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Mayor Carmen Sabatino

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District Attorney’s office chief prosecutor, Dave Harris and investigator, Steve Jacobson are facing contempt charges.

The charges were filed because of a declaration by Judge Scott Steffen, who presided over the AJ Pontillo bail bonds trial.

Steffen revealed that the jury in that trial was tampered with, and a less publicized charge is that Harris withheld exculpatory evidence in order to convict Mr. Pontillo, who was facing four life sentences.

It is debatable which charge is more serious.

Tampering with the jury violates the foundation of our judicial system.

Withholding evidence to put an innocent man in jail for life violates our Constitution.

Pontillo was exonerated by the jury but after an eight year investigation by Sheriff Adam Christianson and a six-month trial by Dave Harris, he is rebuilding a life that was destroyed .

In the meantime, the county is paying high-priced attorneys to minimize the damage to Harris and Jacobson.

The charges could be filed as felonies, but Dist. Atty. Birgit Fladager is not going to file charges against her own staff.

The County filed an appeal, and the appellate court has suspended the contempt trial for further review.

Although defense attorney Frank Carson also filed a complaint with the court, whether or not he can participate as a prosecutor has become a distraction created by the County to further delay the proceedings and limit the damage to the District Attorney’s Office.

Although the court has suspended the trial,  DA Fladager has not suspended her employees, chief deputy Dist. Atty. Dave Harris and DA investigator Steve Jacobson, or charge them with felonies.

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