Separate Trials Opposed in Police Corruption Case

Federal prosecutors oppose the request by three San Francisco police officers facing corruption charges to be tried separately, court papers showed Friday.

Six officers indicted in February were accused of three drug conspiracies and making alleged threats against low-income residents of long-term hotels and illegal searches.

Three of the six have requested separate trials.  Ian Furminger, Edmond Robles and Reynoldo Vargas have asked U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to sever their trials arguing their defenses would be “mutually antagonistic” and thus prejudicial to try them together.

The government, in an opposition to that request, said the trio make no effort to spell out what their defenses might be or explain how they are antagonistic.

Furminger also argues that there would be significantly more evidence against Robles and Vargas than against him, while Vargas makes the same claim, saying Furminger is the only one charged with extortion, according to the government.

And Robles said he would be the victim of “guilt by association” if tried with the other two, something the prosecutors reject as “speculative.”

The men are indicted on eight counts, including conspiracy to distribute drugs, steal money and other valuables seized on behalf of the city.

“The defendants are charged with acting in concert and committing crimes together,” according to Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hemann.

“We are shooting a bit in the dark here because none of the defendants actually articulate what their defenses are or explain how they are antagonistic to each other, let alone mutually exclusive,” Hemann said.

Vargas is concerned that Furminger’s defense will be to “dump on Vargas” and the government should not benefit from Furminger’s “bad-mouthing,” the papers state.  “This argument is just not supported by the law,” Hemann says.

Case:  U.S. v. Furminger, No. 14-cr-102CRB



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