El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting was found not guilty today on three felony charges of political malfeasance, but was convicted of six misdemeanors for improperly raising bail to free himself from jail.
The charges stemmed from income Nutting received from a state fire safety program for clearing brush on his ranch. Prosecutors alleged that Nutting failed to disclose tens of thousands of dollars, faced a conflict of interest when he voted to fund local resource agencies and took illegal loans from government employees to post bail.
Though the El Dorado Superior Court jury in Placerville found Nutting not guilty on three felonies, it was hung on a fourth felony count alleging that Nutting fabricated documents related to herbicide treatment for which he was reimbursed by the state.
In arguing their case, prosecutors said the supervisor cloaked government income to preserve his reputation as a conservative politician. But Nutting said he openly discussed the state fire safety program and that his errors were honest paperwork mistakes. He has suggested that the case was driven by political enemies who made the same accusations in the past.
The jury convicted Nutting on misdemeanor counts that he illegally solicited money from two county workers and a county contractor to post $55,000 in bail when he was arrested last year on the political malfeasance charges.
After Judge Timothy S. Buckley finished reading the verdicts, he dismissed the jury and offered his own observation: “Somewhat of a mixed bag. Congratulations, Mr. Nutting.”
Had Nutting been convicted of a felony, he would have had to relinquish his county supervisor post under state law. After the verdict, Nutting walked from his defendant’s chair into the courtroom gallery, hugged his wife and cried.
“The only thing I want to say is that I can’t wait to go home and hug my 10-year-old son, who has been worried sick,” Nutting said. “Everything is going to be fine.”
Buckley scheduled sentencing on the misdemeanors for June 6 after county prosecutor James Clinchard asked for time to consider whether to retry the fourth felony charge.
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