SALINAS, Calif.-- Three King City police officers are scheduled to be arraigned in court on Thursday. They're among the six accused of corruption in the King City police department.
Four of the officers made their first court appearances on Monday. No one in this case has even entered a formal plea, but the District Attorney, and the defense attorney’s are preparing their strategies for their cases.
When the first four officers were in court on Monday, the judge ordered them not to talk to one another, and the District Attorney’s office says the reason for that is that they don't want to compromise the investigation.
“Well we are continuing the investigation, and so we are concerned about people discussing other matters into related charges we might look into,” said Terry Spitz, the chief assistant district attorney.
Spitz says the no contact order in this case is unusual.
“Well the typical no contact order that we see is in standard criminal cases. The defendant cannot contact the victim or the witnesses, so this is unusual,” said Spitz.
One defense attorney says it’s unusual, but not in a good way.
“It took me by surprise. I have been defending cases for 40 years. I have never heard an order that two people being charged together can't talk to each other,” said Richard Rosen.
It's still early, but Rosen, an attorney for Mario Mottu Sr., is already trying to separate his client from the rest of the King City officers, and especially from the alleged towing scheme.
“There is one scheme involving four officers where they are accused of stealing cars from poor people. Officer Mottu is not charged with any of that,” said Rosen.
Rosen says that Mottu is charged with embezzlement. Rosen says Mottu was given a police car by former Chief Baldiviez. He fixed up the car for public relation purposes, and claims he didn’t drive it around for personal use, or use city money to fix it up.
“What they had here was a retired police car and they gave it to him to fix up for public relations reasons for the police department, and he did that. He didn't profit from this. He didn't steal it. He didn't hide it,” said Rosen.
Rosen says his client will plead not guilty.
“They are going to see very soon this is not an embezzlement. It was not done for personal gain. It was not done with an intent to steal. It was not done to profit him personally,” said Rosen.
It’s ultimately going to be up to the judge to decide how this case will proceed.