Nutting pleads not guilty; trial set for Feb.

By Kathryn Reed

El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting pleaded not guilty to all charges Friday in El Dorado County Superior Court in South Lake Tahoe.

Nutting, 53, faces four felony counts regarding more than $70,000 he received from the state to clear brush from his 350-acre ranch in Somerset. (His brother owns an adjacent 350 acres.) He is accused of not reporting the income, voting on contracts that affected him financially and perjury. After those felony charges were leveled in May, the district and state attorneys general offices filed seven misdemeanor charges against Nutting regarding how he got his $55,000 in bail money. He is accused of taking loans from county employees.

On Sept. 20, Judge Tim Buckley denied the motions to dismiss the charges, as Nutting’s attorney David Weiner had requested.

Ray Nutting

Ray Nutting

“No surprises here,” Nutting told Lake Tahoe News as he left the courtroom. He directed further questions to his attorney.

“(The judge) said the standard was reasonable suspicion. It’s the lowest of all standards. Anything lower is a mere guess,” Weiner told Lake Tahoe News after the hearing.

Weiner has a matter of days to file an appeal to Buckley’s decision regarding the felony counts. He would not say if he intends to go that route.

After the judge rendered his decisions on the motions to dismiss he asked Nutting to enter a plea to all charges. To which Nutting pleaded not guilty.

Buckley had no trouble concluding three of the four counts should proceed to trial, but count two troubled him. This involves the nearly $72,000 Nutting received from the Sierra Coordinated Resource Management Council in 2009 that he attempted to report 4½ years after the fact.

Buckley said the grand jury that leveled the indictment against Nutting was not properly instructed and that because those 18 people had been disbanded without being told not to talk about the case it would be impossible to reconvene them to reconsider that specific count.

Assistant District Attorney James Clinchard said he would not issue any comment about the case. He is trying the case with Deputy Attorney General Peter Williams.

Nutting represents the southern part of El Dorado County, including parts of El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park, Pleasant Valley, Somerset and Grizzly Flat. In the courtroom were his wife, family members, friends and constituents.

Weiner believes the accusations are politically motivated and that the grand jury was “misled by inaccurate, incomplete and prejudiced information.”

“We are looking forward to a jury trial to present the truth,” Weiner said.

The trial is slated to begin Feb. 4 in Placerville. Jury selection could take a week and the trial two weeks.

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Comments (6)
  1. tahoe Pizza Eater says - Posted: September 21, 2013

    Within this story I find something very suspicious. This defendant raised $55,000 bail money. Then seven misdemeanor charges were filed against this defendant, alleging he obtained the bail money through illegal loans. I know to some people this looks bad for the defendant. But in my opinion this appears to be an unwarranted attack upon this defendant. When I consider these seven misdemeanor charges, my suspicion is aroused toward the first allegations. I must ask myself ” What is this case really about ?” Is this some kind of unwarranted political attack against this defendant ? These seven misdemeanor charges sure makes it appear to be an unjust attack upon this man.

  2. tahoe Pizza Eater says - Posted: September 21, 2013

    NO ONE CARES It’s been 12 hours and no one else commented . I can’t blame you. This case doesn’t seem interesting. The trouble with this is that this defendant is fighting for his freedom. He may deserve to be convicted, or he may be innocent. If no one cares, including the jury, the jury isn’t going to do their due diligence. That’s bad, this guy deserves a jury that pays close attention to the evidence. If you ask attorneys about juries they’ll tell you juries are unpredictable. I think it’s a problem when jurors don’t care, and that’s one problem with ordinary citizens on juries.

  3. dumbfounded says - Posted: September 22, 2013

    Just a little commentary on the jury process… the court system has taken the service out of jury duty and replaced it with disrespect and servitude. They take no responsibility for their mistakes and treat citizens with disdain and contempt. That is why so many jurors do not care. Ray is not the sharpest knife in the drawer but he does not deserve this, IMHO. He is an honest man in a dishonest environment.

  4. tahoe Pizza Eater says - Posted: September 23, 2013

    I’m in favor of professional juries. Can you imagine being prosecuted for a crime you didn’t commit and then being judged by jurors that don’t know how to determine if a witness has lied ? Stupid people sit on nearly all juries. They make decisions that can ruin a person’s life. And yet we allow these people to sit and issue verdicts on matters they have no training in. What I’m most concerned about are witnesses who lie. When evidence contradicts testimony, you need intelligent jurors capable of recognizing a lie. A person should, at the very least, be judged by intelligent, capable jurors.

  5. tahoe Pizza Eater says - Posted: September 23, 2013

    FOLLOW UP – – This knife cuts both ways. Intelligent jurors can understand evidence proving guilt just as well as they’d understand evidence proving innocence. If jurors were trained there would be no advantage to a guilty person.

  6. Frank Drebbin says - Posted: September 24, 2013

    How are the 7 misdemeanor charges an indication that the original charges are unjust? Should the DA just look the other way when a defendant gets illegal loans from his subordinates? What a ridiculous statement. Let’s hope the jury are more intelligent than you Pizza Eater.