The wife of El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting testified Thursday that the embattled supervisor didn’t solicit county employees to bail himself out of jail.
Jennifer Nutting’s testimony in the politically charged case challenged the prosecution’s assertion that her husband violated state laws by borrowing money from people working for his office or government agency.
The El Dorado supervisor faces felony and misdemeanor political malfeasance charges related to state grant money he took for clearing brush on his family ranch. Prosecutors allege that he failed to properly disclose more than $70,000 in state income, and that he committed further offenses by asking county government workers to help bail him out of jail last year.
In a Placerville courtroom, Jennifer Nutting described how two county employees stepped up and offered bail money in the frenetic moments after the supervisor learned he needed to turn himself in at the county jail May 28. She said her husband solicited no loans.
Jennifer Nutting said her husband was on the phone in his supervisorial office, making calls to arrange his $55,000 bail, when the supervisor’s secretary burst in and told Nutting’s wife, “Here is $50,000 to go bail your husband out.” She said the money was offered for bail – not solicited by her husband as a loan.
Ray Nutting’s personal assistant, Katherine “Kitty” Miller, testified earlier in the trial that she rushed home and retrieved the money to give to her boss. She said she had the cash on hand after having withdrawn it from the bank to buy silver.
Jennifer Nutting, whose husband is expected to testify next week, said she accepted another $8,000 from Board of Supervisors clerk Catherine Tyler, who provided the money after hearing about the pending arrest.
“It was a total surprise. I cried,” Jennifer Nutting said. She testified that she cried again when Miller came in later with more than the remaining amount needed.
Prosecutors later tacked on seven additional misdemeanor charges against Nutting in a criminal complaint that claimed the supervisor broke the law by attempting to solicit bail money from the two county employees, as well as from a major construction contractor and bail bondsman doing business with the county. All but the bail bondsman put up money.
Jennifer Nutting testified that she ultimately took $55,000 from the two county employees to bail out her husband. She said she filled out Ray Nutting’s bail documents to specify that $47,000 of the bail money was to be returned to Miller – and not the supervisor – after the funds were released by the court.
She said she repaid Tyler the $8,000 soon after her husband got out of jail and then went to the office of building contractor Doug Veerkamp, who had wired $20,000 to Nutting’s account after the supervisor asked him for help. She said she wrote Veerkamp a check, refunding the money.
Call The Bee’s Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539.