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Fourteen defendants of alleged corruption in three South Bay school districts — Sweetwater, Southwestern and San Ysidro — appeared in a South Bay court this morning only to be told the trial might be moved back to the San Diego courthouse. Only Monday was it learned that the cases were being transferred to the South Bay. Former Southwestern superintendent Raj Chopra did not appear in court.

The packed courtroom was told this morning that San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed a motion to reconsider returning the cases to the downtown courthouse. The hearing on this motion will be held in the San Diego courthouse, Department 11 on February 5.

Vikas Bajaj (pictured), attorney for former Southwestern college trustee, Jorge Dominguez, said that he and his client just learned of the motion to reconsider when they arrived at the courtroom this morning. Bajaj said he is considering the question of location in relation to "the content and quality of the jury pool."

The fifteen defendants face 232 varied charges in alleged pay-to-play schemes.

Attorneys for the defendants received 27 volumes of grand jury transcripts today and have moved to have the transcripts sealed. Marc Carlos, attorney for Pearl Quinones, a Sweetwater Union High School trustee, said that the transcripts are filled with testimony gathered from witnesses when no cross-examination was possible. Carlos stated that it would not be fair to defendants to have this material circulating in the community right now.

The Chula Vista courtroom over which judge Stephanie Sontag presided could not seat all the defendants, media, friends and family who wished to attend the arraignment. Many people had to wait outside the courtroom.

Sontag set the arraignment for February 15 if the cases are to remain in the South Bay

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Comments

cvres Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:05 p.m.

Bouncing back and forth between courthouses does not serve the public or the pursuit of justice. Why did it take a whole year to even get to this point? Sometimes it looks like the DA's office is just letting people have their elections, serve their terms, and letting the districts spend the taxpayer's proposition money. South Bay school districts are floundering and so is the court system.

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VigilantinCV Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:27 p.m.

Bonnie Dumanis should have bought the Big Red Tent that they were auctioning off at the Del Mar Racetrack yesterday, so there would be room for everyone associated with this sorry three-ring circus!

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anniej Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:23 p.m.

VigilantinCV - tooooooooo funny, too bad this is regarding the education of students and taxpayers monies.

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joepublic Jan. 30, 2013 @ 6:58 p.m.

Any guesses regarding the cost for this non-action? No problem, the taxpayers will pick up the tab.

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anniej Jan. 30, 2013 @ 10:21 p.m.

Bonnie Dumanis and her team worked very hard to bring to the forefront the disease of corruption that has plagued the South Bay for several years.

Did it not concern you when Filner showed up at Quinones swearing in ceremony and stated, in referring to Quinones, "anything for my 'queen'" - which she reciprocated and acknowledged him as her 'king'? I have to tell you it was enough to make a maggot gag.

So when I see an attempt to move the trials here naturally my mind thinks "hmmmm, Filner South Bay", didn't he begin his political career right here In our community? anything for his 'queen'.

I would like to see Ms. Dumanis finish what she started, I have faith in her entire department to do what needs to be done. While some are frustrated with how long it has taken - I would say compare it to to the MANY YEARS the alleged corruption GREW LIKE A FREAKIN CANCER!!!!!!!!

Have we got them all, hmmmmm, I think not. What is that saying about cutting off the head of the snake? Well I think in SUHSD's case there were two heads - one head was named 'the gandara' and the other, well it is an older, shinier head - what do you think, is there more to come?

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eastlaker Jan. 31, 2013 @ 9:04 a.m.

Yes, anniej, I think you have called it. I do think that Filner has probably pulled some strings and called in some favors...why? Does this bunch have something on him? Why else would he make that nauseating public display?

Where is the honesty? I sure hope we can find some.

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eastlaker Jan. 31, 2013 @ 11:24 a.m.

Here's a thought: Pearl is from Socorro, TX, home of Gandara (and Trujillo?).

Maybe her testimony is key, and as Filner has been around this area for quite some time, he has some ties/connections/history...maybe his little display is to keep Pearl from telling what she knows.

But I don't really think anyone will ride to Pearl's rescue...I think they will try and keep her from testifying against any of them, but she won't be able to avoid taking the fall.

I think Pearl is being played, bigtime, and she will not figure it out until it is too late...If I were her, I would not trust any of these guys, no matter what they are saying.

It is much better to stick with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That way at least perjury can be avoided...because it would be a shame to have to add that to the already lengthy list of charges.

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Visduh Jan. 31, 2013 @ 8:03 p.m.

That appearance of Filner's was straight out of Chi-town in the 50's where corruption was the glue that held the city together. Just as Mayor Daley would appear at the wake for some gunned-down mobster or equally outrageous thing, Mare Bob was paying off an old supporter. If you now still want to think he's a reform mayor, I don't know what to tell you other than to think again, and again, and again, . . .

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anniej Feb. 1, 2013 @ 1:20 p.m.

Eastlaker: I too believe Quinones is being played. I also believe that there is a connection between she and Filner, a connection Filner is trying hard to hide. Why else would any politician jeopardize his reputation by openly defending her.

These trials can not BEGIN or END too soon - once the districtS houses have been cleaned we must begin to build anew - from the foundation up.

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Visduh Feb. 2, 2013 @ 9:05 a.m.

There is one possibility involving this ping pong game of courthouses. The delay could be designed to give the attorneys time to negotiate among themselves and start to cut deals with the DA. The whole thing is a house of cards, and if you pull out a card near the bottom, the whole thing collapses. If one of the central players is ready to rat out a number of others, that would result in a cascade of follow-on deals. Another possibility is that the DA has more indictments coming through the system, and is just as happy to let these ride for a while until more are ready to announce.

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anniej Feb. 2, 2013 @ 12:55 p.m.

More indictments coming - surely no one lied to Grand Jury. Surely district finances are not suspect. Hmmmmmm

1

eastlaker Feb. 4, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

As to the comment that they do not think it is right for the material to be circulating in the Sweetwater district "locale"...maybe some of these people shouldn't have done some of these alleged deeds. But as they allegedly did, they just might have to find out what the consequences are. Allegedly.

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