Nutting acquitted of felonies, guilty of misdemeanors

EL DORADO COUNTY Supervisor Ray Nutting, left, and his attorney David Weiner watch the jury enter the courtroom as a verdict was expected Wednesday May 14. Village Life photo by Krysten Kellum

A jury found El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting not guilty of three felonies but guilty of six misdemeanors, it was announced mid-morning Wednesday.

The guilty verdicts stemmed from Nutting’s attempt to solicit bail money from county employees and county contractors.

The jury acquitted Nutting of felony charges of filing false documents and conflicts of interest related to state grant money the District 2 supervisor received but couldn’t reach an agreement on the fourth felony count. Count 3, a filing of false documents charge, ended in a mistrial. District Attorney Vern Pierson confirmed it was a charge concerning filing for the Proposition 40 grant reimbursement money for clearing land on Nutting’s ranch. He also said the jury was split 7-5 in favor of guilt.

The lone misdemeanor acquittal was related to soliciting a loan from a county employee/contractor.

Sentencing will take place on June 6. Prosecutors are also expected to announce if they will refile Count 3 for a retrial at the sentencing hearing.

Attorney James Clinchard from the El Dorado County DA’s Office previously said that no matter the outcome for the trial, they would seek a civil case to remove Nutting from office; civil liability is easier to prove than criminal liability.

According to government code 1770 (h), the office could be vacated due to a “conviction of a felony or of any offense involving a violation of his or her official duties.” Government code 87461 reads, in part: “No elected officer of a state or local government agency shall, from the date of his or her election to office through the date he or she vacates office, receive a personal loan of five hundred dollars ($500) or more, except when the loan is in writing and clearly states the terms of the loan, including the parties to the loan agreement, date of the loan, amount of the loan, term of the loan, date or dates when payments shall be due on the loan and the amount of the payments, and the rate of interest paid on the loan.” Exempt are loans to the campaign committee of an elected officer and loans made by family, “provided that the person making the loan is not acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not otherwise exempted under this section.”

According to testimony, Nutting’s bail loans were never documented in writing and some were given to Nutting’s wife Jennifer.

Nutting said he was under a gag order about the actual trial due to the mistrial on Count 3, but said his 10-year-old son Chase was worried.

“I just want to let him know it’s going to be OK,” Nutting said, adding that he was thinking of his son, wife and the healing process that can now begin.

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Posted by on May 14 2014.
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