The multi-million dollar fraud case against the former officials of Gold Country Lenders was back in court Friday afternoon.
It was a day of hearing motions by both sides in the case against former CEO Phil Lester and CFO Susan Laferte.
The three issues that were addressed included a motion submitted by the prosecutor to quash additional subpoenas of complainants; a motion to continue the case by the defense, and clarification of process for a proposed real estate transaction that involved property owned by a defendant.
The motion to continue the trial beyond the scheduled April date was presented by Lester’s attorney Mary Beth Acton requesting additional time to review discovery. Acton stated she still did not have access to potential exculpatory evidence which includes two interviews of former defendant Jon Blinder and information provided by Blinder’s attorney Malcolm Segal prior to the Grand Jury indictment. Acton stated there are 382,000 pages of discovery that still can not be accessed via the computer system.
Prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell, responded that her office could rectify the computer access within the week and provide copies of the interviews in a timely manner. Krell stated that she believed defense would still have adequate time to prepare for the April trial date.
Judge Candice Heidelberger denied the motion without prejudice and would revisit the matter at a February 21 hearing.
The issue of quashing additional information subpoenaed by the defense which included tax records, communications, and bank information of complainants will be reviewed by Heidleberger and a written response will be issued regarding the decision. One complainant read a statement that the subpoenas were just an attempt to intimidate the complainants and requested personal information that did not need to be provided to the defense.
The third issue involved a property that is owned by Phil Lester that a land trust was attempting to purchase, and Lester’s attorney was asking for clarification that Lester could sign off on the transaction. Lester’s interest would be held in an account that would then go to any effected complainants. The property was not part of the original lawsuit so Heidelberger was not sure she had jurisdiction over the sale. The judge directed attorneys from both sides to work out an agreement.
Next steps in the case include Heidelberger’s written decision regarding quashing the subpoenas and then the February 21 hearing reviewing the motion to continue the case.