Crime - Sacto 911

Bail condition for former real estate exec Michael Lyon: No cameras

Michael Lyon, the former head of Lyon Real Estate, as he appeared after being arrested in 2014 on felony drug possession and eavesdropping charges.
Michael Lyon, the former head of Lyon Real Estate, as he appeared after being arrested in 2014 on felony drug possession and eavesdropping charges. Sacramento County Probation Department

Onetime real estate mogul Michael Lyon is likely to get out of jail on April 2, but with 16 new counts of electronic eavesdropping now hanging over his head, a judge Friday placed a condition on the defendant’s release: no cameras, not even the one on his cellphone.

“No filming,” Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian said from the bench, after he set a $250,000 bail on Lyon, who last year admitted to secretly videotaping his sexual escapades with prostitutes, as well as family friends and others when they visited the bathroom and other areas of his Arden Park home.

“No cameras of any kind in possession of Mr. Lyon,” the judge continued. “That means no cellphone with a camera on it. No computer with a camera on it. No still camera, motion pictures, any kind of filming device at all – anything that’s able to transmit stills or streaming action, any kind of filming whatsoever. And no recording equipment.”

The judge granted an exception for outdoor security cameras.

Davidian announced the bail conditions – which also required Lyon to surrender his passport – following a private meeting with Deputy District Attorney Michael Kane and defense lawyer William J. Portanova before Friday’s hearing. The passport was delivered to Davidian’s courtroom less than an hour after the hearing concluded.

Lyon, 59, has been jailed in Sacramento since Oct. 1, when he was picked up on a probation violation for violating the terms of a plea deal his attorney worked out with the District Attorney’s Office in March 2011.

On Friday, the DA’s Office filed a complaint that charged Lyon with 16 new counts of the same electronic eavesdropping offense. The complaint said the 16 counts took place on 14 separate dates with eight different “Jane Doe” victims between Jan. 15, 2014, and Sept. 27, 2014.

Portanova did not identify or characterize the female victims or describe Lyon’s relationship with them, except to say that the filming captured “consenting acts between consenting adults.”

“We haven’t seen the evidence,” Portanova said. “If these are the allegations, we have substantial evidence in defense. We just haven’t been given access to the materials.”

Lyon, the former chief executive officer of Lyon Real Estate, pleaded not guilty Friday to the new charges. Davidian continued the case until April 1.

Outside court, Portanova said Lyon will admit then to violating his probation. His custody time expires the next day.

“And he’ll be a free man,” Portanova said, “except for the new charges.”

Without mentioning Lyon by name, the defense attorney made a distinction between “truly dangerous people” he has represented and others “who have peccadilloes, who have compulsions, who have disorders.”

“It’s one thing to slap a dog and teach him not to do something,” Portanova said. “It’s another thing to try and work with somebody who has a compulsion, who has a certain lack of voluntariness to their behavior.”

The lawyer said “it will be a very difficult thing” for Lyon to adjust to the no-camera provision of his bail.

“Mike has been a camera hobbyist his whole life,” Portanova said.

Call The Bee’s Andy Furillo, (916) 321-1141. Follow him on Twitter @andyfurillo.

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