Bob McPhail 6:31 a.m., May 19
Jury selection began for two California Border Patrol agents
Accused of lewd acts in public and then attacking a witness
Two Border Patrol agents, a man and a woman, who are accused of committing lewd acts in public and then battery on a witness, have begun selecting a jury for their trial in San Diego County Superior Court.
Kallie Lamb Helwig, 25, and Gerald Joseph Torello, 35, have pleaded not guilty to charges that they performed sex acts at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and then attacked a woman who complained. The crimes allegedly occurred during the final performance of a Cirque du Soleil event, on May 27, 2012.
The off-duty Border Patrol agents were not in uniform at the time, after 5 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, when the woman seated near them during the circus entertainment reportedly told them to “get a room.”
The alleged victim said she was attacked when she went to leave the circus tent; she said the pair were “lying in wait” for her, near an exit. She described the female, Kallie Lamb Helwig, as slugging her while Helwig’s companion, Gerald Joseph Torello, shouted encouragement.
The alleged victim said that when she found out the two were Border Patrol agents, her “heart sank” and she feared the matter would be “swept under the rug.”
Neither defendant was taken into custody; they were informed more than a month later by “fax” of misdemeanor charges against them. Both defendants have privately retained defense attorneys and continue to remain at liberty.
Prosecutor Tracy Prior has said she will not make a plea deal. Jury selection began this morning and a jury is expected to be seated sometime tomorrow, Friday. Evidence is expected to begin on Monday morning, February 4, before Judge Harry Elias, in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.