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OAKLAND — On Friday, the retrial of three former Oakland cops looked a lot like a new trial of the prosecutor who tried to put them away the first time. As former Alameda County prosecutor David Hollister stepped into the witness box, he faced sharp, accusing questions from the same attorneys he opposed two years ago. Defense attorney Edward Fishman grilled Hollister on his ethics and allegations that he deliberately misled jurors in the first Oakland Riders trial. Hollister, now a deputy district attorney in Plumas County, was called to the stand this week by prosecutors who are making a fresh run at former police officers Clarence Mabanag, Jude Siapno and Matthew Hornung, accused of beating and torturing suspects and covering their tracks with doctored reports. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner has repeatedly stated that he wants the Riders retrial to be independent of the first trial. But that proved difficult Friday as Hollister was repeatedly confronted with testimony from the first trial and sharp questions over his handling of it. Fishman, Hornung’s attorney, provoked Horner’s ire several times, getting the worst of it when he tried to suggest Hollister was aiding current prosecutors Terry Wiley and Benjamin Beltramo beyond his role as a witness. “Do you feel like your position in the witness chair has competing interests and obligations?” Fishman asked. Hollister said no. When Fishman asked Hollister if he gave Wiley and Beltramo his opinion of the defendants’ guilt, Judge Horner stopped him. “You’re treading on very dangerous ground here,” Horner told Fishman. “I’m cautioning you very strongly that you should go somewhere else.” Horner on Monday ruled defense attorneys could not ask Hollister whether he was dissatisfied with the first Riders verdict — acquittal on eight charges and deadlock on 27 more. Generally calm and direct throughout cross-examination, Hollister raised his voice when Fishman referred to testimony from a police sergeant who testified that Hornung’s name had initially been left off a key document, a draft internal affairs report. Fishman, who has claimed Hornung’s name was only brought up after the initial investigation, asked Hollister to confirm Fishman’s own closing statements from the first trial, which suggested that prosecutors had “falsely indicted” his client. Hollister appeared irked. “My understanding, Mr. Fishman, was that the basis of your argument, right or wrong, was that other suspects were placed on immediate leave and Mr. Hornung was not put on leave,” Hollister said. Horner kept Fishman on a relatively short leash. He sustained three prosecution objections in a row when Fishman tried to get Hollister to say how he got phone records of certain police officers. Prosecutors objected that the information could put the officers, who are not defendants, at risk because one Riders suspect, Frank Vasquez, is a fugitive. Horner agreed there were “serious safety issues” at play. “I don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said. Michael Rains, counsel for Mabanag, picked up cross-examination in the late afternoon and homed in on Hollister’s handling of a draft internal affairs report. Rains has repeatedly attacked Hollister on the report. In pretrial motions, he had accused Hollister of prosecutorial misconduct for allegedly fabricating the document, which Hollister introduced midway through the first trial. But Horner threw out the allegation and praised Hollister as “professional, ethical, honest and forthright.” In court Friday, Rains pressed the question of whether Hollister had seen other internal affairs documents. Hollister said he hadn’t seen some of the documents or couldn’t recall seeing them. At one point, Rains asked Hollister whether he would introduce a document if it hurt his case. Hollister, somewhat exasperated, said yes. “As far as hurting or helping, Mr. Rains, my goodness � there was a litany of information we provided to you,” he said. “It is what it is.” Hollister’s testimony was interrupted for several days as Horner delayed proceedings in order to give Mabanag a chance to recover from the flu. Mabanag, who was sick again Friday, waived his rights to be in court so the trial could proceed. The attorneys involved in the case were unable to comment on the proceedings because Horner has issued a gag order for the case.

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