SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., Aug. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A San Bernardino County jury today concluded a nine-month trial by finding Jeff Burum, Paul Biane, and Mark Kirk innocent of all corruption charges, supporting the defense's long-standing claim that the case should never have been brought. Stephen G. Larson of Larson O'Brien LLP was lead counsel for Mr. Burum, a Rancho Cucamonga real estate developer. Jennifer Keller, of Keller Anderle LLP, was co-counsel for Mr. Burum.
"I believed from the beginning that justice would prevail, but I never thought it would take seven years. I am forever grateful to the jury for their sacrifice for all of the defendants and our families. My family, friends, and partners have believed in me from the outset, and now I just want to get back to being a father, husband, friend, and developer without this political persecution being used against me," said Jeffrey Burum, co-managing partner of Colonies Partners LP.
"This is a resounding but utterly predictable defeat for the District Attorney of San Bernardino County. The trial revealed, as we said it would, that the investigators recklessly ignored exculpatory evidence, that the prosecutors misled the indicting grand jury, and that the government's leading cooperator, Adam Aleman, and other former and present government officials lied in court. Millions of dollars have been misspent. The residents of this County know that the pursuit of justice can be perverted for the sake of a politically-motivated prosecution," said attorney Stephen Larson.
The prosecution was related to a $102 million settlement in 2006 between the County and Colonies Partners and subsequent legal and publicly reported campaign contributions. "The prosecution was an ill-advised effort to criminalize constitutionally-protected political activity, which the jury emphatically rejected by its decision," Mr. Larson said.
Pre-trial litigation involved two oral arguments before the California Court of Appeal and one before the California Supreme Court. Each of the seven charges against Mr. Burum was dismissed by courts at least twice, in the end leaving four bribery-related charges that were reinstated by appellate courts or charging amendments by the prosecution. With the jury's verdict today, all criminal charges against Mr. Burum have been definitively rejected.
A parallel investigation by the US Attorney and FBI begun in September 2011, which included search warrants and grand jury testimony, resulted in the US Attorney publicly reporting its May 2012 decision declining to allege any wrongdoing by Mr. Burum.
CASE: PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA v. PAUL BlANE, MARK KIRK, JAMES ERWIN, JEFFREY BURUM, Criminal Action, No. FSBI102102 (California Superior Court)
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SOURCE The Colonies Partners, LP