THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - In February, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin laid out multiple bribery and corruption charges against former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, and developers Richard Meaney and John Wessman.
The District Attorney's Office is alleging Meaney and Wessman paid Pougnet bribes of up to $375,000, in exchange for what Hestrin called "political influence" on city development projects while Pougnet was in office.
If convicted, Pougnet faces up to 19 years in prison, while both Meaney and Wessman each face up to 12 years in prison.
Since the indictments, nearly half a dozen court appearances during three months have took place, including individual and group appearances in Riverside and Indio.
But now, the arraignment has been pushed back to October 6.
KESQ's I-Team started asking why, and here's what we found out.
One of the reasons is due to a scheduling conflict.
Richard Meaney's attorney, Peter Scalisi, is representing Mark Kirk. Kirk is one of the defendants in the "Colonies Corruption Case" in San Bernardino County, a case that's been going on since indictments were handed down more than a decade ago.
Due to that case, Scalisi is only available for court in Indio on Fridays.
Another reason are what are called demurrer motions, filed on behalf of defense attorneys challenging the complaint filed by the District Attorney, and asking the judge to dismiss some charges before the arraignment takes place.
According to court documents obtained by KESQ, Wessman's motion argues the District Attorney's Office filed the complaint too long after the alleged crimes happened.
In response to the motion, the District Attorney disagreed, and asked the court to deny Wessman's motion.
In another demurrer motion filed on behalf of Steve Pougnet, his attorney challenges three perjury counts the former Palm Springs mayor faces for allegedly filing false income documents (Form 700).
In the document, Pougnet's attorney, Malcolm Segal, said the counts are improperly charged which violates Pougnet right to due process, and the perjury counts have no legal foundation.
To that, prosecutors said the case should move forward, saying the California Supreme Court has authorized perjury prosecution for falsely declaring economic interests on Form 700s.
Prosecutors said if the motions are approved, the case could be postponed even further.
However, if the motions are denied, all three men would be arraigned in October.
We reached out to Segal and Scalisi for comment on the motions. Segal had no comment, while Scalisi did not return our request for comment.
Wessman's attorney, David Greenberg, spoke with KESQ and CBS Local 2 about the demurrer filed on behalf of his client at previous hearings.