Eventually, we are told, former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, along with developers Richard Meaney and John Wessman, will stand trial for a combined 30 felony counts stemming from an FBI raid on Palm Springs City Hall back in what feels like 1987, but was actually just four years ago – which, then again, seems like a crazy long time for a trial to actually happen. As the Desert Sun reports, the latest development in the case has attorney for the three men asking that the public not see what is the grand jury transcripts.
Now, attorneys for the three men are asking a court to seal the grand jury transcripts that resulted in their August indictment, arguing that releasing them would impede the defendants’ rights to a fair trial.
“Adding this document to the public record before the trial has been resolved would be like adding gasoline to a smoldering fire,” Wessman’s attorney wrote in a motion filed in early October. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold Hopp is expected to consider the motion on Friday during a scheduled hearing.
Prosecutors have alleged Pougnet accepted as much as $375,000 from Wessman, who they contend paid the bribes through Meaney. As a result of the bribes, authorities said, Pougnet would advocate for the developers’ projects.
“Adding gasoline to a smoldering fire,” you say? Sounds like the lawyers know that whatever is in those transcripts is really, really bad and, really, at this point, the public deserves to know.
Update: A judge has postponed a decision on this until January and I am really starting to think this trial is never going to actually happen.