Crime - Sacto 911

Will pie guy be tried? Not if DA can’t find a judge by Monday, his lawyer says

Sacramento prosecutors are on the clock if they want to continue pursuing criminal charges against Sean Thompson, who smashed a pie in the face of former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson last September, Thompson’s attorney said Friday.

If the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office can’t find a courtroom and a judge to hear Thompson's felony assault trial by Monday, they are legally required to drop the charges, defense lawyer Claire White told reporters Friday.

Prosecutors say that won’t be a problem. “We are more than ready,” Deputy District Attorney Anthony Ortiz insisted.

Both sides are slated to meet Monday in Sacramento Superior Court for a trial assignment. A shortage of courtrooms had been one dilemma. No courtrooms were available as of Thursday in the crowded downtown courthouse.

Finding a judge has been another holdup.

On Thursday, Judge Delbert Oros, who had been assigned the trial that morning, told attorneys that a scheduling conflict in May would likely preclude him from hearing the case. He sent the matter back to be reassigned to another judge.

Meanwhile, Thompson’s attorneys continue their weeks-long search for the former mayor and his wife, Michelle Rhee, whom they want to serve with subpoenas.

White took her case to local reporters again Thursday, saying Johnson is dodging the subpoenas. Ortiz has said prosecutors have no plans to call Johnson to the witness stand.

Thompson, a local activist, maintains that he hit Johnson with a pie at a benefit event last September as a form of political theater. He wanted to highlight what he called Johnson’s failed attempts to address homelessness in Sacramento.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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