New complaint against James Newberry includes 48 felonies
The prosecutor in the case against James Newberry has filed a motion to amend the complaint against the Grand County commissioner.
The amended complaint filed in the case lists 53 charges against Newberry, including 48 felonies.
Judge Terry Ruckriegle will rule on the motion on Oct. 9.
Newberry is facing charges over allegations that he charged both Grand County and the Colorado River District, where he serves on the board of directors, for the same mileage to travel to district meetings.
Newberry is also alleged to have charged Grand County for mileage to Northwest Colorado Council of Governments meetings that minutes indicate he did not attend.
The conduct is alleged to have occurred between January 2009 and September 2013.
The new charges, which include 24 felony counts of attempting to influence a public servant, 24 felony counts of embezzlement of public property and five misdemeanor counts of officials misconduct, stem from allegations of criminal conduct already set forth in previous complaints in the case.
In the amended complaint, Newberry is charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant and one count of embezzlement of public property for each of 24 instances in which he is alleged to have “double-dipped” on mileage or received mileage reimbursement for meetings he did not attend, according to the new complaint.
If approved, the amended complaint will supplant a previous complaint that charged Newberry with one felony count of attempting to influence a public servant, one felony county of embezzlement of public property, and one misdemeanor count of official misconduct.
Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown, the case’s special prosecutor, filed the motion to amend and amended complaint on Sept. 11.
Brown has also filed a motion to introduce evidence of other acts and a motion for a change of venue.
During a Sept. 11 hearing on a previous motion to dismiss filed by Patrick Burke, Newberry’s attorney, Burke said he would be filing a response to the motion to amend and the amended complaint.
“We see problems, I see problems, with the amended complaint and information,” Burke said.
Ruckriegle did not rule on the motion to dismiss, in which Burke argued that the three previous charges should be dropped because they fell outside the statute of limitations.
Ruckriegle will rule on that motion, the motion to amend and additional motions, including two new motions from the prosecution, on Oct. 9.
Brown seeks change of venue
Brown has filed a motion to introduce evidence regarding the tax status of Newberry’s mileage reimbursements.
The motion, called a 404(b), seeks to introduce evidence of “other crimes, wrongs or acts” for certain purposes including proving a motive, opportunity, intent and knowledge, according the Colorado Rules of Evidence.
Evidence introduced under 404(b) may not be used to prove a person’s character.
The prosecution consulted special agents with both the Colorado Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service who determined that Newberry’s excess reimbursements were taxable income and should have been reported on his Form 1040, according to the motion.
CDOR determined that Newberry had failed to pay a total of $425 in taxes on his mileage reimbursements between 2009 and 2013, the motion states.
The prosecution seeks to show motive, knowledge and intent by introducing the evidence, according to the motion.
Brown has also filed a motion for a change of venue in the case.
The motion cites ongoing media coverage of the case and states, “the publicity surrounding the defendant’s case has been massive, pervasive and prejudicial rising to the level of presumed prejudice.”
That could affect the prosecution’s ability to find a fair and impartial jury, the motion states.
Another site for the trial has not yet been proposed.
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