Crime - Sacto 911

Pie-thrower’s attorneys want ex-Mayor Johnson to testify at trial

Attorneys for Sean Thompson, the activist for the homeless facing felony assault charges for hitting former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in the face with a pie at a charity event, are subpoenaing Johnson to testify at trial in the incident and are demanding any police reports that name Johnson as a suspect in alleged assaults.

A judge at a Tuesday hearing also ordered Sacramento police to turn over dozens of photos defense attorneys say were taken by police during and after the September incident. Defense attorneys say police stashed the images away and believe they now may be lost.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Roman ordered the two sides to return next Tuesday ahead of a scheduled April 27 trial date.

Thompson, 32, grabbed headlines for his public pieing of the then-mayor last Sept. 21 at Sacramento Charter High School in Oak Park. The incident found Thompson on the receiving end of blows thrown by Johnson and facing counts of felony assault on a public official and misdemeanor assault on school grounds.

Thompson’s attorneys want 68 photographs that they claim were taken by Sacramento police of the incident and have since gone missing, said Claire J. White, Thompson’s Vallejo-based defense attorney, following the morning hearing.

White after the hearing said Sacramento police stowed the incident photos in a “special vault” to prevent the images from being leaked and that “now they can’t find them.”

Sacramento police are producing the photos, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz said Tuesday, but he declined to comment on White’s claims.

White also sought police reports linking Johnson to any alleged assaults, saying she is “informed that there are police reports that exist.”

Meantime, it is unclear whether the former mayor will take the stand.

Ortiz says he has no plans to call Johnson as a witness at trial.

“It becomes more of a show” if Johnson takes the stand, Ortiz said, adding that Thompson had admitted throwing the cream pie in news interviews and in open court.

White said attorneys have attempted for weeks to serve Johnson with an order to testify to no avail, saying that not calling the former mayor to testify would rob Thompson of the right to face his accuser.

Thompson has argued that the incident was not an assault on Johnson but was intended as political theater meant to call attention to homelessness in the city and what he saw as Johnson’s failure to address the issue.

“Sean exhausted all available avenues. He felt this was the last act available to him to raise public awareness around the issue,” White said. “There’s no dispute that he placed a pie in the face of Mr. Johnson. The question is why and what does this mean? We look forward to what Sean has to say and have the people of Sacramento weigh in.”

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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