X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
SAN JOSE � A defense attorney charged with contempt during a high-profile fraud trial apologized Friday to the judge. Peter Furst, of San Francisco’s Furst & Pendergast, delivered a letter to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Paul Bernal during a brief hearing. According to a lawyer for Furst, the letter apologizes and calls Furst’s allegedly over-the-line questioning an aberration. “I ask you to accept that the words I put in there are what I truly feel,” Furst told Bernal. The letter was not released. Defense attorney Edward Sousa, a San Jose solo, said the contempt charge has been “hanging over [Furst's head] for more than three months,” adding that his client wanted to resolve the case quickly but needed to wait for him to read through more than 1,000 pages of transcripts. “I think what happened was an uncharacteristic breach in his otherwise exemplary courtroom behavior,” Sousa said of the veteran defense lawyer, who has previously defended law enforcement officers in criminal cases. “He intends to apologize to the court immediately and see if we can move on,” Sousa said. Bernal did not indicate when he would rule, saying he has to review the letter. Furst was charged with contempt in late May for allegedly asking a witness prohibited questions during the trial of his client, former Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Lt. Armand Tiano, and five co-defendants. Bernal accused Furst of trying to bring up a witness’s past criminal history during the jury trial. The six defendants are facing charges of setting up a fraudulent charity and spending the proceeds for their own benefit. Bernal has said that Furst was repeatedly warned about the questions but continued to press the witness. Late last week, Sousa blamed the incident on the duration and complexity of the Tiano trial. The trial opened in March and is scheduled to continue into late fall. He also said that Furst has been living in a hotel while defending Tiano. “It’s hard enough being in a long trial but to be away from home [is more difficult],” Sousa told Bernal. Sousa added that Furst has “not been defiant,” and wrote a “genuine and heartfelt apology.” The defendants allegedly spent most of the $3.6 million they raised on expensive items like cars and artwork.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.