SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Attorneys for a former Orange County public official accused of sexually abusing female employees said Tuesday the trial involving their client is “a waste of taxpayer money and time”.
Former Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante was charged with felony sexual assault and other alleged crimes against women stemming from his time as head of Orange County Public Works following his arrest in July 2012.
He is also still charged with misdemeanor counts of assault, battery touching an intimate part of another person and attempted touching of an intimate part of another person.
Prosecutors have accused Bustamante of sexually assaulting seven women between 2003 and 2012 while he worked at the Orange County Public Works Department.
Some counts have already been dismissed, but prosecutors want Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly to reconsider various charges dropped last May by a hearing judge for lack of evidence – a move to which defense attorneys strongly objected.
“It’s a waste of taxpayer money and time,” attorney Steven R. Young said. “They’ve already struck some of the charges…and we plan to show that our client isn’t just not guilty but innocent.”
Young, along with attorneys Gina Kershaw and Brent Romney, took on the case after another judge dismissed the most serious charges — five felony counts of false imprisonment and three felony counts of assault with intent to commit a sex offense — in late May.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports in the interim, Bustamante told reporters he’s keeping busy.
“I’m doing lots of things,” he said. “It’s a free country, so I’m doing real estate development and a lot of things like that.”
Several women, some of whom had romantic relationships with Bustamante, testified in May about the alleged unwanted sexual advances. One woman said Bustamante allegedly masturbated in front of her in her office. Another said he hugged and kissed her twice in his office and groped her breast and buttocks.
Bustamante is due back in court Aug. 15 for trial on the remaining charges. If found guilty, he could get up to six years and eight months in prison.
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