TRIAL OF THE DECADE? THE PEOPLE V. SUGELY CUEVAS ET AL.
BY LOS SANTOS TIMES | MAY 11, 2020
Attorney General Rachel Page addresses the court.
The center of the defense’s arguments was threefold: conflict of interest with the district attorney, lack of evidence and sovereign immunity. Schroeder argued that because District Attorney Corrigan once served as general counsel to the Republican Party, he has a conflict of interest.
“The prosecution has already proven to have used their access as attorney of the San Andreas Grand Old Party to gain otherwise confidential and private information, bound by Attorney-client-privilege, about the defendants and use it against them in the Court of Law,” Schroeder said. “The defense argues that the major Conflict of Interest issues are a serious violation of the San Andreas State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct and as such a complaint will be filed with the San Andreas State Bar Association.”
Page dismissed the argument, stating that it fundamentally lacks common sense, and that Corrigan was not involved in the investigation or evidence-collection process.
“The SAGOP is not on trial here, Cuevas and Underhill are. When a person who acts against the corrupt and illicit conduct of individual members of a large organization they happen to be affiliated with, it does not constitute a conflict of interest,” Page said. “It's also worth mentioning that District Attorney Ronald Corrigan was counsel in name only. The District Attorney is no longer counsel for the party, and nor did he at any point make any contribution or execute any work as the party's counsel. More importantly, he isn't the lawyer or attorney of either of the Defendants. There's no such conflict of interest.”
The defense argued that the event at the Nixon Estate was non-partisan, donations were for the San Andreas Community Development Fund (SACDF) a state-run charity, and that all contributions at the event were to be routed to state accounts.
The prosecution hit back at Schroeder with a cache of new evidence, showing that the opposite appeared to be true. Secretary Cuevas in a recording even stated that “Tonight's event is all about the Frank Underhill campaign.”
Underhill himself admitted that less than half of the donations collected at the fundraiser were going to the community development fund, and that 60% of donations would go to his campaign war chest.
"The money we raise tonight will not just go to the campaign, but forty percent will go to the San Andreas Community Development Fund," Underhill said in a recording.
Finally, the defense made the argument that Cuevas is entitled to sovereign immunity, under the Sovereign Immunity Act of 2018.
“The defendant acted within the course of their duty as Acting Secretary of State to raise funds for the current Administration and the future Administration, regardless of the outcome of the 2020 elections,” Schroeder said. “The actions are in accordance with the Sovereign Immunity Act of 2018, therefore the defense argues that the actions of the Secretary of State are protected from both civil and criminal lawsuits.”
Page dismissed the notion, claiming that Schroeder was sharing blatantly false information.
“The Sovereign Immunity Act of 2018 was not adopted so that our State employees can enjoy fine drinks and host political fundraisers on State-owned property,” Page said. “You get a car for work, you use it for work. You get a property for work, you use it for work. We greatly doubt that hiring butlers to provide fine drinks to political insiders, and solicit political donations, is part of the Senator's or the Secretary of State's official duties.”
The Attorney General concluded her response by recommending that Underhill’s own defense attorney be charged with perjury for repeatedly sharing untrue anecdotes and misconstrued interpretations of the law. Schroeder responded, alluding that Page was trying to silence arguments the Justice Department disagreed with.
"Honorable members of the Panel, the defense finds it confusing when the Prosecution calls every argument they disagree with Perjury,” Schroeder said. “The defense is furthermore surprised to see that the Prosecution has decided to submit new evidence in their response to the motion to dismiss filed by the defense, without any regard for proper proceedings of this Court."
Neither Secretary Cuevas or Senator Underhill have testified or released statements on the corruption trial.
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